Lindy Lee's practice explores her Chinese ancestry through Taoism and Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism – philosophies that see humanity and nature as inextricably linked. She employs chance and spontaneity to produce a galaxy of images that embody the intimate connections between human existence and the cosmos. Her works are meditative, often revealing themselves through time.
Lee's early works make reference to the Western canon of portraiture and question the notion of authenticity in artistic practice. More recently, Lee has used imagery from her family photo albums 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 onto 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, as well as widespread international recognition. Lee has exhibited in the USA, Germany, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore. In 1984 she graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts 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.
In 2001, a monograph on her work by Benjamin Gennochio and Melissa Chiu was published by Fine Arts Press and Craftsman House, Sydney. In 2008 Lee was the subject of an ABC TV documentary for the ArtistsatWork series.
Selected solo exhibitions include Lindy Lee: The Dark of Absolute Freedom, University of Queensland Gallery, Brisbane (2014); Birth and Death, Campbelltown Art Centre, Sydney (2007); 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 Versus Rodin, Art Gallery of South Australia (2017); Made in China, Australia, Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, Booragul NSW (2013); Marking Time, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2012); Return to Sender, UQ Art Museum, Brisbane (2012); Made in Australia, Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart (2012); 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 the 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.
* Hero Image: Photography by Carl Warnerdownload pdf