Sammy Lee: Remind Me Tomorrow
A show of ritual and cadence at the Emmanuel Art Gallery, opening May 25th.Alice Crogan | College of Arts & Media May 5, 2021
Denver-based, Korean American artist Sammy Lee opens Remind Me Tomorrow at the Emmanuel Art Gallery on May 25, 2021, a solo exhibition exploring motherhood, domesticity, immigration, and Asian prejudice. The multi-faceted show features installation, artist books, performance art, and sculptures using a multitude of textures and mediums that re-contextualizes familiar objects and scenes into art.
Probing into ritual and the past, life size installation works–– such as Changing Station, a conveyer belt baby-onesies and Street Art Cart, inspired by Asian food carts the artist shapeshifts into an artist studio, gallery, and art booth –– examine where daily work intersects with the ceremonial, intimacy meets efficiency, and financial independence grapples with capitalism.
“The creative process resembles my own experience of (un)conforming to a new homeland; it calls for certain self-renewal while summoning and translating the past,” states Lee. “As a first-generation immigrant who spent much of her youth in a nomadic state, I use found objects and memories as material to investigate the sense of home.”
Remind Me Tomorrow brings together many of Lee’s most prominent works delving into memory, repetition, and familiarity. These small figments are like ghosts representing paradox and identity, a reminder of labor, family, home, and class.
Often the processes used are from distant traditions, a memento of Lee’s birthplace, Seoul Korea. The techniques of joomchi, a way of making felted paper, and tadumi, a traditional method of ironing laundry with wooden clubs, both using water, will be present in the exhibition, but taking on forms of domesticity, rather than intentional uses.
“Objects such as suitcases, table settings, and discarded shop signs with wet paper-skin creates new three-dimensional artwork with textures and markings resulting from the weight of water that was once present,” states Lee. “These works question socio-cultural issues surrounding a sense of belonging, home, foreign body, cross-cultural psychology, and immigration.”
Lee tangles with her own duality as a female, an artist, a daughter, a mother, and a Korean. As a daughter she watched her mother lose her independence and domain with a cancer diagnosis at 48. In a climate that breathes violence and bigotry against Asians, and her own aging at her mom’s cancer diagnosis, she peels back layers more fully exposing her identity in as an artist and woman in America.
This show is a timely and breathtakingly beautiful look at the simple and complex––the dichotomy of this moment,
Remind Me Tomorrow opens on May 25, 2021 at the Emmanuel Art Gallery on the CU Denver campus in downtown Denver. May is recognized, honored, and celebrated as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and as time to stand against the alarming bigotry and hate against Asian people. A celebration in June will be announced.
Contact: Alice Crogan, email@example.com
About the Artist:
Sammy Lee (b.1975, Seoul, Korea) studied fine art and media art at UCLA and architecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Lee's work has been exhibited internationally and can be found in collections at the Getty Research Institute, Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Spencer Museum of Art, Denver Art Museum, and the Spanish National Library in Madrid. Among her many accomplishments is a performative collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma during the Bach project tour in 2018. Lee is recently a resident artist at Redline, serves as an ambassador for Asian Art at Denver Art Museum, and operates a contemporary art project and residency space called Collective SML | k in Santa Fe Art District, Denver.
Artist website: https://www.studiosmlk.com/info
About the Emmanuel Art Gallery:
Since 1973, The Emmanuel Art Gallery, located on the CU Denver campus in downtown Denver, exhibits the work of exceptional artists from around the world and Colorado. The Emmanuel is a non-profit art gallery committed to enhancing the understanding and experience of the visual arts. Through the presentation of significant art exhibitions, lectures and events our purpose is to encourage critical thinking, creativity, and meaningful exchange between artists and audiences. The Emmanuel Art Gallery is managed and supported by the College of Arts & Media at CU Denver.
Gallery website: https://www.emmanuelgallery.org @