Born Brisbane 1954; currently lives and works in Sydney
Lindy Lee's practice explores her Chinese roots through the philosophies of Taoism and Buddhism, characterised by an awareness of humanity's close relationship to nature and the universe. Employing the ideas of chance and spontaneity, she creates a galaxy of imagery that emanates philosophical meditations on nature and life.
Her works are intentionally slow to impart their secrets. Rather than singular visual statements, they are thoughtful objects where meaning emerges from sustained meditation. Conceptually concerned with the ancient universe, we are repeatedly offered ‘a grander vision of existence where the bonds of time are loosened and we are for a moment free'.
Lee's early works make reference to the Western canon of portraiture and questions the notion of authenticity in artistic practice. More recently, Lee has used imagery from her family photo albums in order to explore the experiences of loss and transition that have spanned five generations of travel from China to Australia. These photographic elements are combined with painterly wax splatters and ink spills, which refer to the ancient Chinese practice of ‘flung ink painting', as performed by Ch'an (Zen) Buddhists. Lee's exploration of this technique has also seen the ‘ink splats' develop into sculptural forms, made by throwing searing molten bronze on to the foundry floor. This action mimics the traditional Chinese practice, which is understood as an act of renewal where all that is held inside oneself is released. Most recently, Lee has used pyrographic imagery produced by burning holes through sheets of metal and heavyweight paper as a way to further explore the theme of personal journeys.
With a practice spanning over three decades, Lindy Lee has a well established reputation in Australia, and enjoyed widespread international recognition exhibiting in Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. In 1984 she graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Art and a Postgraduate Diploma in painting from Sydney College of the Arts, and in 2001 she received her PhD in Fine Art from the University of New South Wales.
Selected solo exhibitions include Tales of Moonlight and Fire, Sutton Gallery, 2008; Birth and Death, Artspace, Sydney, 2003; Narrow Road to the Interior, Atrium Space, MITA, Australian High Commission, Singapore, 2003; and No Up, No Down, I am the Ten Thousand Things, Project Space, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1995. Selected group exhibitions include Marking Time, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2012; painthing (as one), Australian Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide, 2010; Element, BIAC, Beijing, China, 2005; Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal, Montréal, Canada, 2005; Sight Seeing, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Downtown Gallery, Beijing, 2004; Photography is Dead, Long Live Photography, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 1996; Prospect 93, Frankfurt, Germany, 1993; Origins, Originality + Beyond, The 6th Biennale of Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1986; and On Location: Australian Perspecta, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1985.
Lee is a founding member of Gallery 4A in Sydney's Chinatown. She is a 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. Lee is currently a trustee of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. 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.
i Damian Smith, ‘Lindy Lee - Making Time', Marking Time, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2012, p.93.
pencil and fire on paper
200 x 130cm