Sandra Eula Lee 산드라 유라 리

Seeds in a wild garden

Sandra Eula Lee is a multidisciplinary artist whose works have been exhibited internationally. Catalogs for solo exhibitions include Two Waters at Art Space Pool in Seoul (2011); Make of / Make Do at The Hilliard Museum in Lafayette, LA (2017); A Map is Not the Territory at the Martin Art Gallery, Muhlenberg College (2020); and Slow Burn at The Phillips Museum of Art in PA (2022).

Venues exhibiting her work include Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, Incheon Art Platform, Inside-Out Museum in Beijing, Xiangsi Art Museum in Tianjin, DadaPost in Berlin, Smack Mellon and Rush Arts Gallery in New York, Goucher College in Baltimore, and Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. Recently Lee’s work has been featured at The Delaware Contemporary, Ethan Cohen Fine Art KuBE in Beacon, NY and Border Project Space in Brooklyn.

Supported by numerous organizations, grants and fellowships include the Andrew Mellon Foundation, Asian Cultural Council in New York, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. She’s been an Artist-in-Residence at The Elizabeth Foundation Studio Center in New York, The Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Seoul Museum of Art, National Museum of Contemporary Art at Goyang, Chinese-European Art Center in Xiamen, American Academy in Rome, and the Vermont Studio Center. In addition, Lee’s work has been discussed in The New York Times, Time Out New York, Artnet, Boston Globe, Trendebeheer, and Harper’s Bazaar Seoul.

Lee received her MFA from Hunter College, CUNY and BFA from the School of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University. She has held teaching positions at Kenyon College and Hunter College, and directed the MA Preparation Program in Beijing with the University of the Arts London. She currently runs the Expanded Sculpture program at Franklin & Marshall College in PA.

As an artist, Lee often uses and transforms common materials to address themes of displacement and upheaval—a sense of landscapes caught up in the rapid change of demolition and construction, as she has experienced them both in Korea and China. Yet she finds compelling that even in the midst of enormous upheaval people will create small spaces that serve as gardens or simply spots that define a personal place. Some of the works address this phenomenon and invite the viewer to experience a configured space that elicits awareness of transient calm or solace. – Richard K. Kent, Art Historian, Slow Burn, Phillips Museum of Art

I’m always reminded that the material world we experience is constantly in-flux. I try to respond to specific aspects of my changing environment through my sculptures and installations. I’m inspired by the temporary structures, improvised spaces, and impromptu gardens built by urban residents in the face of demolition and relocation. By combining industrial construction materials together with traditional hand-made processes, including weaving, cooking, and gardening, I conflate and subvert roles: hand-built labor with erosion and time.

During a period of violent tensions, I explore dissonance and healing through the industrial forms and reflective ponds I create. Life against asphalt and concrete intersects with life alongside rivers and mountains. Common to these conditions is the need to carve out space through everyday creative acts.

My years living in New York, Seoul and Beijing, and experiences living in rural river towns in Ohio and Pennsylvania, provide constantly shifting perspectives and points of reference. Working with a range of material processes reflecting industrial development and the acts of resilience within them, I create a hybrid space reframing manufactured moments with traces of the naturally-weathered, cultured, and grown.

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