Kristine Lee | Tarnished Saints


For Kristine Lee her life is her art and there is little or no separation between the two and she is never one to shy away from drawing on her own life’s experiences and to laying it all out there for the world to see. I have long admired her honesty and dedication to her craft and she is one of those artists I have long admired and I am excited to finally to be able to see a body of work together in one place. She is a keen observer of the world around her and finds additional inspiration in issues concerning the environment the wonder of nature, the madness, joy and bewilderment found in society and politics and the never ending beauty in the human form.

 In describing her work, Kristine Lee writes: “These paintings come into being through the process of layering, destruction and rebuilding. There have been three important paths in my life. First the birth of my children, second, understanding my connection with the planet and every being on it, and third, finding and embracing my independence. With little conscious direction the painting process is a type of visually stimulating experiment. Ultimately my intent is to create paintings that invite multiple interpretations and repeated examination.”
Kristine Lee has wanted to be an artist since she first put pencil to paper. She is a self-taught artist whose artistic practice is all encompassing, working from the ground up she does everything from stretching her canvas to building the frames that surround them. One of the hallmarks of her work is the incredible textured surfaces she creates through the layering of plaster and primer to her canvas or wood before painting with acrylic and sanding to create the desired effect before building up the image with numerous layers of acrylic applied both liberally and in delicate glazes and washes. 
It’s interesting to see the parallels between Kristine and Patricia’s work as both artists have had to balance life as a single mother against the realities of making a living and the ever present need to express themselves through their art. Both artists are obsessed with process and materials and both artists draw upon the figure as their main source of inspiration. In them both I see strength in their resolve and both are fighters and survivors and their work remains as proof of their existence. They have both survived, for the most part, outside of the commercial gallery world, finding their own following of admirers and collectors. Its exhibitions like these where we get to bring to light these artists within our community whose work is not readily accessible to the average person unless you seek them out. They are artists in the purest sense as they create for the sake of creation with no pressure to paint to a market they are free to go places not afforded those whose livelihood is dependent upon feeding a market hungry for that which they are best known for. 

Looking at the three exhibitions as a whole, Kristine’s work serves as a natural bridge between the work of Meghan Hildebrand and Patricia Kushner, with the overall arching connection being their collective interest in, and attention to, the surface and art of mark making. I have had the pleasure to watch all three of these artists develop over the past ten years but until now I have always seen their work individually and while I consciously planned these exhibitions with Brooke, I had not considered the possibilities of a larger dialogue. By bringing these three artists together I find they work off each other in ways I could not have predicted before,  building an even richer landscape from which we can travel and discover far more about their vision and in doing so our own world view.

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