Lindy Lee is an Australian artist (born Brisbane 1954). Lee’s practice explores her Chinese ancestry through Taoism and Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism – philosophies that see humanity and nature as inextricably linked. Symbolic gestures and processes that call on the element of chance are often used to produce a galaxy of images that embody the intimate connections between human existence and the cosmos. Lee’s works are intentionally slow to impart their secrets. Rather than singular visual statements, they are thoughtful objects where meaning emerges from sustained meditation.
Investigating and questioning multiplicity of self has remained a central concern in Lee’s practice. From her early works that referenced the Western canon of portraiture and questioned the notion of authenticity in artistic practice, to her more recent use of family photos that reflect on the experiences of loss and transition spanning five generations of travel from China to Australia. Lee’s work, as a Chinese-Australian artist, has been crucial to visualising the experience of Chinese diaspora in a country that has historically whitewashed its multiculturalism.
Lee’s painterly techniques of wax splatters and ink spills reference the ancient Chinese practice of ‘flung ink painting', as performed by Ch'an (Zen) Buddhists. Lee has also developed these splatter gestures into sculptural forms by throwing searing molten bronze on to the foundry floor, which embodied the Buddhist act of renewal where all that is held inside oneself is released. Such mark-marking emphasises one’s presence in the moment, and can also be seen in Lee’s repetition of burning holes in photographs, on paper scrolls and through sheets of metal. Each mark-marking gesture is a pitch into eternity – meeting with this moment – indeed in Buddhism eternity isn’t anywhere else but here, there is only this moment of now.
With a practice spanning over three decades, Lindy Lee has a well established reputation in Australia, and widespread international recognition, exhibiting in Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. Lee’s solo exhibitions include The Seamless Tomb, Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney (2017); Lindy Lee: The Dark of Absolute Freedom, the University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane (2014); Universal Record of the Flame, 10 Chancery Lane, Hong Kong (2013); and Birth and Death, Campbelltown Art Centre, Sydney (2007). Group exhibitions include the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Divided Worlds ( 2018); Versus Rodin: Bodies Across Time and Space, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2017); Beyond Words: Calligraphic Traditions of Asia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2016-17); Marking Time, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2012); Chinese Australia, Australia China Art Foundation, Melbourne (2012); and Painthing (as one), Australian Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide (2010).
In the 1980s Lee studied at The Chelsea School of Art, London, UK and Sydney College of the Arts Australia. In 2001 she received her PhD in Fine Art from the University of New South Wales. Lee was also a senior lecturer at Sydney College of the Arts for over 20 years. Lee’s important public works include Life of Stars at the Art Gallery of South Australia; The Garden of Cloud and Stone in Sydney's Chinatown; Life of Stars: Tenderness of Rain, at the Zheng Zhou Cultural Centre, China; and she has significant projects currently under development throughout Asia and New York City.
Lee is a founding member of Gallery 4A in Sydney's Chinatown. She is a former trustee of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, former board member of Artspace and Australian Centre of Photography, as well as a former president of the Asian Australian Artists Association and former deputy chair of the Visual Arts and Craft Fund, Australia Council. Her work is included in numerous major public and private collections throughout Australia, including Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, National Gallery of Australia and The University of Melbourne.
Lee is represented in Sydney by Sullivan and Strumpf - https://www.sullivanstrumpf.com; in Melbourne by Sutton Gallery - http://www.suttongallery.com.au; and she works extensively on public art projects with Urban Art Projects (UAP) in Brisbane and Shanghai - http://www.uapcompany.com