Publication by Art Historian Christopher Bennett and Curator Laura Blereau with roundtable discussion
As an artist Lee conceives the “garden” as a space of contemplation; it is also, like life itself, in her estimation, “improvised.” Inspired by more formal gardens, such as Soswaewon Garden in South Korea or The Master of Nets Garden in Suzhou, China, Lee is particularly drawn to the ponds located within gardens. She describes such a pond as “almost a kind of empty space, reflecting what’s around it.”
The exhibition Make of / Make do surveys Lee’s production from 1997 to 2014 and includes her most recent works of 2015-17. In these later pieces, the themes of her earlier “gardens” and “ponds” undergo projection onto the vertical plane of the wall and onto new landscape features, such as mountains.
Lee’s art is defined by a dynamic tension between the spontaneous and potentially endless process of making use of salvaged and commonly available materials—and the arrival at a finely-tuned, definitive external structure. (C. Bennett)