Friday, March 25, 2011

Bovey Lee Presents Solo Exhibition "Paper Streets"



Veronica Corpuz
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

Bovey Lee: “Paper Streets”

709 Penn Gallery, 709 Penn Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Downtown Pittsburgh Cultural District

April 15-May 22, 2011

Pittsburgh, PA: To commemorate her 10th anniversary as a Pittsburgh resident, Bovey Lee presents "Paper Streets," a solo exhibition of new work based on her visual cataloging of the city and its region's topographical complexity. Her first exhibition at The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s 709 Penn Gallery, “Paper Streets” showcases Bovey Lee’s modern interpretations crafted in the intricate and ancient art of Chinese paper cutting. The show opens on Friday, April 15, 2011, with an artist reception from 6-8 p.m., and concludes on May 22.

Using cut paper as her medium, Lee hand cut over 600 paper objects to create installations that explore resolute themes such as the geography's influence on life in the region and the city's constant efforts to recreate itself. More light-hearted works look at the practice of deploying folding chairs in the streets to claim parking spaces and seats along parade routes. The exhibition’s title comes from the so-called paper streets that are plunging staircases or walkways on maps considered as valid streets in Pittsburgh.

“The underlying themes in my paper cutouts are power, sacrifice, and survival,” the artist notes. “Drawing ideas from my cultural identity and gender, headline news, environmental issues, and socio-political commentaries, I painstakingly hand cut each work on a single sheet of paper that depicts layered and dramatic narratives. The deep paradoxes in my works contrast starkly with the airy, fragile laces of the cutouts.”

Bovey Lee works with rice paper, because the material is both culturally significant and sustainable. Handmade from mulberry tree bark, rice paper is tissue thin, dense, and soft to the touch. Silk is mounted to the back of the paper to add resilience and silk is also renewable.

Her creative process is three-fold: hand drawing, digital rendering, and hand cutting. She begins by sketching before creating a digital template, which serves as a visual guide, comprising downloaded images, her own digital photographs, scans from magazines and books, and vector graphics. The final step consists of several hours of hand-cutting the image with an X-acto knife.

Bovey Lee has exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; Museum Bellerive, Zurich, Switzerland; National Glass Centre, Sunderland, UK; Museum Rijswijk, The Netherlands; Pittsburgh Center for the Arts; Museum of Fine Arts, Beijing, China; Fukuoka Museum of Art, Fukuoka, Japan; Hong Kong Museum of Art; Asian American Arts Center, New York; Rossi & Rossi, London, UK; Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco; and many others.

Her work has been recognized with grants and awards from the Ruth & Harold Chenven Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Vira I. Heinz Endowment, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation and the Asian American Arts Center in New York.

Bovey Lee graduated with a BA in Fine Arts from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1991. In 1995, she received a MFA in painting from the University of California at Berkeley. In 2000, Bovey earned a second MFA in digital arts from Pratt Institute in New York.

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