Sammy Lee: Remind Me Tomorrow
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 prejudice. The multi-faceted show features installation, artist books, performance art, and sculptures using a multitude of textures and mediums that re-contextualize familiar objects and scenes into art.
Probing into ritual and the past, life-size installation works–– such as Changing Station, a conveyer belt with baby-onesies and Street Art Cart, inspired by Asian food carts the artist shapeshifts into an artist studio, gallery, and art fair 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 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 a time to stand against the alarming bigotry and hate against Asian people. A celebration in June will be announced.
Visit the website here: https://www.emmanuelgallery.org/sammy-lee
Emmanuel Art Gallery, University of Colorado Denver
1205 10th Street Plaza
Denver, CO 80204