Sammy Lee’s “Remind me Tomorrow” at Emmanuel Gallery – Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado 2021-06-07 09:06:38 –

Artist Sammy Lee is posing for In (de) finite Reflection, 2020, yellow and gold acrylic mirrors, a 36-inch portrait at the Emmanuel Gallery on Denver’s Auraria campus. (Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post)

Many artists are inspired by their lives to create their work, but few are now as purely autobiographical as Sammy Lee’s “Remind Me Tomorrow” at the Emmanuel Art Gallery.

Lee has a story to tell, starting with a voluntary and solo migration from South Korea to the United States at the age of 16 to maturity and motherhood. The show has more than a decade of worthwhile work and is unfolded in rhythmic and overlapping chapters.

For the most part (probably as expected) of the duality of human beings drawn from one place and fallen to another, Lee’s story is full of surprises, unexpected developments, and pure humor. Her vocabulary is a rich fusion of sculptures, videos, paper structures and larger installations.

Art is, in a sense, her primary language, allowing her to transcend the limits of both English and Korean and express the deeper and more emotional experiences she has experienced on her journey. Watching the show reveals that both her life and her creative achievements are thoughtful and thorough processes that require a lot of difficult work.

If you go

Sammy Lee’s “Remind Me Tomorrow” will continue until July 15th at the Emmanuel Gallery on the Auraria campus in downtown Denver. The exhibition is free, but check the gallery for the latest information on pandemic restrictions. 303-315-7431 or

Lee puts a lot of effort into her objects, even if they look simple on the surface. For example, look at Emmanuel, a pile of black suitcases that stretch from floor to ceiling. Lee named the piece “FOB, Arrival” and has reproduced it in a variety of configurations since it was first considered in 2016.

Lee said that suitcases create a special resonance for immigrants due to their limited size and choice of what one brings out and what one leaves behind as one moves from one to another. Mr. says. It’s not just about choosing a sweater or shoes when you go on vacation, it’s about separating what you have at the core of your identity from what you inevitably have to give up. Make such a delicate decision at the age of only 16. Imagine that.

Lee, like some other works, makes this object very personal by wrapping his suitcase in a “skin” made of paper. Overlays give the suitcase a uniform texture and give each other and their owners a human-like connection.

Making this skin is a process in itself, and Lee performs it like an ancient ritual, as the video of the exhibition shows.She combines a Korean papermaking process called Jomuchi With a washing method called TadumiThis is a complex exercise of adding or removing water to or from a material or fabric for the desired result, ending with a long, rhythmic movement of the material with a small paddle, much like playing a drum. I will.

Photography FOB, Arrivals, 2016 – On-going suitcases, hands, balls, acrylic varnish, 32 x 102 x 22 inches, artist Sammy Lee, Emmanuel Gallery. (Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post)

The end result of the laundry is freshly ironed cleanliness. In the case of paper skin, it was strength and suppleness that Lee used to create works such as “Korean-American Supper,” a paper cast for the table setting for the first dinner in the United States. To Lee, paper is like clay, which can be shaped and dried to make a variety of things.

Or to cover monumental works like the 2019 Chandelier. These are basically five chandeliers located on an abandoned mountain in the middle of the gallery floor. The direct implication is that they fell into a mess from the perch on the ceiling. The bigger meaning is that life doesn’t always go according to plan. Lee understands that it was ridiculous.

Part of that comes from motherhood, another theme that leads to “Remind Me Tomorrow.” There is a piece titled “Mamabot”, a sculpture of a robot mounted on a 6-foot-high wall made of photo frames, wings, small plastic toys, and more. This work is a dark and daunting manifestation of the great challenge of raising a happy child, maintaining a career and staying sane.

Lee’s children are now 13 and 5 years old, but she hasn’t forgotten her childcare job. The work “Changing Station” is an actual industrial belt conveyor with a mold that expresses infant clothes that appear to be in the middle of changing diapers. It’s as if changing babies is as painstaking and relentless as working in a factory, suggesting that efficiency is the key to both efforts.

That half-interesting part may seem far from Lee’s part of geographic identity, but it’s all together. Things change, roles change, environments change, people evolve into different things. They adjust.

Photographs of 114 x 36 x 114 changing stations, conveyor belts, hands, baby clothes, baby mobiles and crystals by artist Sammy Lee at the Emmanuel Gallery in Denver. (Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post)

Lee pays attention to everything and encourages others to ponder the topic. Curated by Emmanuel’s director Jeff Ramson, the exhibition exhibit is an installation titled “Street Art Cart” created by Lee during his Korean artist residence in 2018.

This is a full-fledged reproduction of a typical Korean food cart, with one sensational exception. It can be folded and carried in a suitcase. It is not only the object itself, but also the foundation for creating other works that evolve over time.

The show is an interactive cross-cultural experiment that asks gallery visitors to make imaginary meals for their loved ones using only traditional Korean culture plates, bowls and utensils. I’m using it as a stage. For example, finding a way to incorporate chopsticks into Mexican, Italian, and Southern American cuisine that visitors are familiar with may be a challenge.

Lee then sets the place where it emerges and casts it into a sculpture using the paper he created. Her goal is to make a cast of 100 people and one day arrange them into a large multi-cooked dinner party set up at one table.

The creation of this work can last forever, which makes it as attractive as Lee’s other works.

In a world where travel, communication, media, technology and politics are constantly changing landscapes, identity is a transformative, endless process. We strive to understand who we are, but it is elusive. Probably not possible, as this show suggests.

It can be a little sad. Of course, this show may be a little sad. But it also relaxes you and invites you to see your universal quest as a practice, not as a burden.

This is a lesson to find challenging, enlightening, humorous and beautiful moments along the way.

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Sammy Lee’s “Remind me Tomorrow” at Emmanuel Gallery Source link Sammy Lee’s “Remind me Tomorrow” at Emmanuel Gallery

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