Working in photography, collage, and video, Lee engages the complications and dual legacies within representations of the American landscape and considers the history of black bodies on American soil as a lens for examining her own relationship to nature.
For her exhibition at Interface, Running, rigging, wading, Lee will present several new photographs, a video, and a large, handmade rope - the artist’s first foray into sculpture. The work focuses on Lee’s personal relationship to water and its historical implications.
The layered and evocative photographs include images of water and floating bodies that have been transformed through collage, and repetitive copying and scanning, before reaching their final form as silver gelatin prints.
Lee’s new video piece depicts the artist traversing the landscape with dowsing rods - a type of divination tool used to locate ground water. Meanwhile, the handmade rope, which is nearly forty feet long, was made using a traditional rope making method found in a sailor’s handbook. Aesthetically and conceptually, the piece evokes a variety of associations including bondage and survival tactics.
Lee has produced a potent body of work for this exhibition rooted in history, personal trauma, rising oceans and inland drought, all ultimately grappling with water’s ability to simultaneously support and threaten life.
There will be a panel discussion on August 3rd from 1-3 pm, which will be facilitated by Elena Gross and will include Lee, Deena Chalabi, and Tamara Porras. A reader with suggested readings by the panelists will be made available prior to the talk.
This exhibition is funded by generous grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Art and The Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation..
Dionne Lee received her MFA from California College of the Arts in 2017. She was a 2019 SECA Award nominee.