Deanna Lee


Deanna Lee

Deanna was born to parents who emigrated from China and Taiwan, and she was raised in suburban Boston. She received degrees from Oberlin College and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and studied at the Tyler School of Art in Rome. She has had solo shows at Robert Henry Contemporary, Wave Hill, and PS122 in New York City, and her work was recently featured in two- and three-person shows at Lake George Arts Project and Blank Space Gallery in New York. Deanna’s work has been included in group shows at Abrons Art Center, Artists Space, The Drawing Center, Lower East Side Printshop, and NURTUREart in New York City. She has received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, an Abbey Mural Fellowship from The National Academy, a BRIC Media Fellowship, a Manhattan Graphics Center scholarship, an Asia Society travel grant, and two Chicago CAAP grants. Deanna has been an artist-in-residence at the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts and the Millay Colony for the Arts. 


My work stems from my early interest in the electron micrographs and specimens of my mother’s lab, and I continue to be engaged by abstracted images from the natural world. In addition to organic structures and patterns, I am inspired by non-Western art—particularly a wide range of Asian traditional art—as well as cartoons and urban graphics. I am invested in the hand-drawn line for its conveyance of individualism, imperfection, and frailty. As a tenuous analogy to ink painting, my process represents my distance from Chinese heritage and tradition.  

My process consists of intuitive, controlled doodling to create line clusters. These clusters grow in an organic fashion and in response to my initial and successive lines. The resulting masses of lines evoke organic forms (like hair, muscles, and fungi), natural systems such as waves and wind currents, geological strata, and topographical maps. I develop each image until I feel it has curiosity and tension, when the forms suggest but do not declare their identities or purpose.  

In my recent works, I respond to preexisting characteristics or features of nature or the daily environment: my paintings are responses to the grain of wood panels, and my site-specific works are responses to a space’s architectural aspects that are unintentional, overlooked, or unnoticed.


b. 1970, Carmel, NY
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY

  • 1995School of the Art Institute of Chicago, MFA
  • 1992Oberlin College, BA
  • 2012Deanna Lee, Robert Henry Contemporary, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2013Beasts & Bodies, Schema Projects, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2010Day Job, The Drawing Center, New York, NY
  • 2012Grant, Pollock-Krasner Foundation
  • 2012Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, Ithaca, NY, United States
  • 2004Millay Colony for the Arts, Austerlitz, NY
152 Eagle Street
Brooklyn, NY 11222