“Noticing things is crucial to making art: things about ourselves, problems, and challenges. Making art allows us to declare who we are.”
Jae Won Lee was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. She absorbed a love of Korean culture from her parents, who taught literature, wrote poetry and translated American and English stories into Korean. She came to the United States to attend California State University at Long Beach and the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, where she received her MFA in 1995. Here she experienced a new and foreign culture, mining the on-going sensation of suspension between cultures to produce her labour-intensive and contemplative work.Her work has been described as “intimate-scaled, reductive, sealed porcelain box forms, as well as porcelain sculpture shaped by numerous small multiple components.” She works in a variety of materials in addition to porcelain including paper, fabric and hair, but all works are characterized by an exquisite sensitivity to materials, pattern, symmetry and decoration. She covers her porcelain box forms with delicate floral patterns, which “inhabit the common ground between nature and culture, theory and phenomena.” She uses obsessive labour and repetition to imply the passage of time, simplifying her forms to focus energy and induce a sense of mystery. Glazed in jewel-like colours, the resulting works are sensuously beautiful and life-affirming. She writes that she would like her “message in its empathy, simplicity and sensitivity to evoke a sense of isolation.”
Lee attended numerous artist residencies including Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, Maine; the Pottery Workshop in Shanghai, China; the Chung Nam National University in Deajeon, Korea, The Clay Studio in Philadelphia and the European Ceramic Workcenter in the Netherlands. In March of 2012, she presented “In Search of Streams and Mountains” in the “New Work” category at the NCECA conference in Seattle. In this work, Lee examines the traditional genre of Chinese landscape painting, exploring both the “actual topography of a grand site and the layers of psychological and art historical meanings that are embedded in the scenery.” She has taught at a number of institutions including Camberwell College of Arts in London, Rutgers State University in New Jersey and Michigan State University in East Lansing, where she has taught since 1998. Her work has been exhibited extensively across the United States and internationally in Korea, the Netherlands and China. She is represented by Paul Kotula Projects in Detroit, Michigan.
The lecture will take place Thursday, October 18 at 7:30 pm in room 245, NB, Emily Carr University. All are welcome and we look forward to seeing you there.
Note: For more on Jae Won Lee, please see her website at www.jaewonlee.net