JJ Lee’s newest paintings and drawings are a culmination of sorting through a collection of materials obtained over the last 15 years through her art practice: collage fragments from labels, bits of information from books. The unifying thread running through all of these seemingly disparate fragments is about the body, where identity and self is located. In an effort to make sense of it all, Lee makes these fragments whole and complete.
The cyclical nature of life has been a recurring subject in Lee’s work in the last few years. Life, birth, death, then life anew. Through life and loss, and life again is a new body of work created from old findings.
These mixed media works primarily pairs acupuncture charts and botanical diagrams as looking at systems of looking at the body, where hurt and healing take place. Pieces are sewn together but layers underneath are allowed to show, as a metaphor for the history that created the foundation for the new layer. Wax, skin-like, obscures yet unifies the underlying images. Sewing the pieces together refers to mending. The process reveals itself. Recycling the old, and using as few new bought materials as possible, Lee breathes new life into the collection of treasured odds and ends. The closure of a chapter occurs as a new one begins. A chapter of hope, the future and new beginnings.