Michele D. Lee has been exploring the interaction between figuration and abstraction in painting since the beginnings of her career. She experienced a turning point in her art when Joe Blaustein, an art instructor in Los Angeles, introduced Lee to the work of the Bay Area artists ranging from Manuel Neri to David Park. While in the years since, Lee has explored different ends of the spectrum of possibility in painting, from figuration to abstraction, her sense that painting can host an interaction of these two impulses derives from her introduction to the Bay Area painters of the 1960s and 70s.
In recent years, Lee has moved several times, living in California, Colorado, Chicago, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Marina del Rey, CA and most recently to Jacksonville, Florida. While living in New Jersey, Lee had a panoramic view of the Hudson River which she credits the span and scope of such a view, daily considered and contemplated, in all its permutations of light and meteorology, with introducing a tendency toward verticality in her current body of work. The long “scroll paintings,” as Lee refers to them, exploit the openness of horizons to allow the intuition of figural suggestions in soothing and resolving vistas of painterly abstraction.
Not only the physical apprehension of the climate of the New York area, but also the proximity to the cultural climate of the New York art scene further encouraged the direction of Lee’s most recent work. Being so close to the New York scene released Lee to instill more intense painterliness in her newer work. A long-term fascination with the human figure has also recently reemerged, though the figural elements emerge and vanish as a mirage in broad areas of pure abstraction.
Ms. Lee has done numerous commissioned figurative abstract paintings for both commercial and residential.
Michele D. Lee attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, Santa Monica College, the University of California at Los Angeles evening arts program, and has received private instruction from Joe Blaustein, Topanga, California.