Los Angeles-based paper artist Bovey Lee’s recent works in hand-cut paper and site-specific installations focus on migration, and its impact on our shared humanity and the environment. It is an extension of the artist’s ongoing research that explores our competing/conflicting desires between nature preservation and urbanization. Lee’s works have been awarded numerous times and exhibited across the globe as well as are included in some of the most prestigious museum collections.
Inspired by centuries of tradition, concepts of departure, arrival, and community, Lee’s hand-cut paper works are full of depth and thought
Lee’s cut paperwork explores “the concepts of departure and arrival in the context of the diasporic self and communities and our collective divergence from nature to the urbanized world”. Born in Hong Kong, Lee’s own migration to America, where she currently lives and works, has inspired many of the artist’s works. Often incorporating images of Chinese architecture, symbols, and landscapes that explore Lee’s position as a Chinese woman in the USA, she brings two identities, two cultures together, reconciling the artist’s old and new self. The topics of migration and community have increasingly become more important to the artist as the current political climate destabilizes. Later Lee’s work began incorporating images of nature along with the man-made constructs, highlighting the sometimes absurd juxtaposition of man’s desire to connect with nature while simultaneously destroying it through urbanization.
I think of cut paper as drawing with a knife and, like calligraphy and painting, the cut paper draws on the same interplay between solid and void, immediacy and permanence to create a visual form.
Lee’s medium of choice cut paper art is inspired by the generational and communal art of Chinese paper cutting that was traditionally done mainly by women. “I think of cut paper as drawing with a knife and, like calligraphy and painting, the cut paper draws on the same interplay between solid and void, immediacy and permanence to create a visual form”, Lee writes. Bridging the old with the new, the artist first creates the layered collage images on a computer which she simply uses as a guiding reference when cutting the paper by hand, creating extremely intricate and precise pieces of art full of thought and meaning.
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