In 2010, I created a site-specific, 65-foot-long piece for the Drawing Center, based on a subtle architectural characteristic of its SoHo space: the sloping floor’s deviation from a level plane. As installed in the gallery, my drawing filled the space of discrepancy between a level line and the actual floor and referred to the organic forces and movements that cause built structures to shift. The piece drew attention to an idiosyncratic but unnoticed aspect of the gallery and affected one’s perception of the space.
After the recent renovation of the gallery, the floor is no longer unlevel, and my drawing exists as a relic of an earlier time.
My drawings and paintings are based on accumulated lines. Developed through a process of controlled doodling, the lines cluster to form masses that evoke hair, muscles, fungi, waves, or currents. To me, the masses function as entities or characters that serve different roles in each work. I think of them as visual metaphors for social relationships and emotional states.
Some of the drawings are made with forms of clouds and waves from traditional Chinese and Japanese art and 1960s hairstyling manuals.
I develop each image until I feel it has curiosity and tension, when the forms suggest but do not declare their identities or purpose.
Artist Bio / CV
Deanna Lee was born in Carmel, New York, to parents who emigrated from China and Taiwan, and she was raised in suburban Boston. After many years of classical music training on several instruments, she received degrees in art from Oberlin College and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and she studied at the Rome campus of the Tyler School of Art.
She has had solo exhibitions at Robert Henry Contemporary (formerly RHV Fine Art), Wave Hill, and PS122, New York City; Earlville Opera House, Earlville, New York; Artemisia Gallery, Chicago; and Edward Williams College, Hackensack, New Jersey. In recent years, Deanna’s art has been featured in a two-person show at Lake George Arts Project and a three-person show at Blank Space Gallery, New York City. Her work has appeared in group shows at numerous venues, including: Abrons Art Center at Henry Street Settlement, ArtBridge, Artists Space, The Drawing Center, Lower East Side Printshop, NURTUREart, and Governors Island in New York City; Samson Projects in Boston; Aron Packer Gallery, Hyde Park Art Center, Jan Cicero Gallery, and Klein Art Works in Chicago; SPACES in Cleveland; Maloney Gallery in Morristown, New Jersey; and George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.
Deanna’s public art works include a 700-foot-long mural on bicycle path barriers in Flushing, Queens, commissioned by the NYC Department of Transportation, and a custom design for tree guards in the Fort Greene and Clinton Hill neighborhoods of Brooklyn.
She has received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant for 2013, a travel grant from the Asia Society in New York, the BRIC Media Fellowship in Brooklyn, the Manhattan Graphics Center Scholarship, the Linda Kramer Fellowship in Chicago, and two grants from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. She was a 2010 recipient of the Edwin Austin Abbey Mural Workshop Fellowship from the National Academy. In 2004, she was an artist-in-residence at the Millay Colony for the Arts, and she was a 2012 artist-in-residence at Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts.
Deanna lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.