Lot 23
Dionne Lee

Building a Bed

Silver gelatin print
8 x 10 inches
Signed sticker on verso
Unique print
Donated by the artist

Dionne Lee looks at connections between land, race, history and violence. Finding herself fascinated with how these ideas connect to concepts of outdoor survival, in this work, Lee handwrites passages on how to start fires, layering blurry scrawl over images of the same subject matter. Also at play is Lee’s consideration of our planet’s shifting climate, and how historical narratives of race and power will play a part in shaping both who has what and who knows how to survive. Lee holds an MFA from California College of the Arts, and has been exhibited at Aperture Foundation and ICP in New York, and Aggregate Space in Oakland, CA, among others.

Community Perspective

At its heart, this photograph by Dionne Lee speaks of survival, of making it in the wild and in the dark, against the odds. It refers directly to the lives and survival of African Americans and to the ways their histories and present existence remain deeply tied to the natural environment and landscapes of this country. Through its inky blacks and abstracted imagery, and through experiments that also take place in the dark, Lee draws attention both to beauty and environmental racism, both to threats and the possibilities of shelter, warmth, respite. Her synthesis of original photographs, found imagery, collage, and inscription responds to the layers of history embedded in nature, and challenges any possible reading of landscape as neutral. - Paula Kupfer, art historian, writer, and editor, currently pursuing a PhD in the history of art at the University of Pittsburgh

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