Sandra Eula Lee
Portable gardenAsphaltThe work of memory*BOOKS
based New York

Phillips Museum of Art, PA (upcoming Aug-Dec 2019)

Kenyon Review May/June 2019 issue on ecology, Edited by David Lynn and David Baker. Order here!

Worlds Apart, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College Video Trailer
July 28-Dec 23, 2018

THE BEND, Gund Gallery, Kenyon College
April 23-May 27, 2018

Make of / Make do, The Hilliard Museum, Lafayette, LA
Publication with essays by Christopher Bennett, Laura Blereau
Dec 27-May 6, 2017

The Phillips Museum of Art, PA (upcoming)


In his book Defiant Gardens, Kenneth Helphand discusses how the power of a garden can intensify when created in inhospitable environments; the disparities between the setting and action can highlight the great humanity in the activity of making a garden in the midst of extreme change.

My parents are war survivors and my exploration into my family’s divided history has led me to make work in South Korea, supported by a grant from the Asian Cultural Council. I thought about the wounded landscape and how the potential of a garden, its resilience comes through in these defiant conditions. Two waters started at the Chinese-European Art Center in Xiamen, traveled to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and then Art Space Pool in Seoul. Nominated for a Smithsonian Institute Artist Research Fellowship and the Sindoh Artist Support Program in Seoul, I conceived the project as a place for reflecting on the changed historical landscape, created mainly from industrial rubble collected in the cities.

Then, living and working in Beijing, neighborhoods underwent constant demolition and communities relocated, including my own. I saw many temporary structures built and re-built, including make-shift stands, small impromptu gardens, and improvised spaces. At the same time I studied traditional Korean and Chinese gardens, a space of contemplation including a large central pond that reflects back its surroundings. These experiences inspired the garden hacks I create. I combine industrial materials with hand-made traditions in order to explore the dissonance I experience between the two.

Struggles in daily life, material culture, simple defiant gestures, and transformation drive my work. My sculptures and installations have been a TIME OUT NEW YORK Critic's Pick, and discussed and featured in The New York Times, Artnet Magazine, Boston Globe, Harper’s Bazaar Seoul, World Journal, and Trendebeheer, among others.

From 2015-19 I ran the Expanded Sculpture program at Kenyon College. I currently run the Expanded Sculpture program at F&M. Previous posts include Directing the Masters Preparation program in Beijing, a collaboration with Chelsea College of Art, University of the Arts London, from 2011-14.