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international painting annual 5 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Matthew Lee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Cathage College, Kenosha, Wisconsin

detail image


My research in landscape began after spending several years working in Antarctica. This experience included a 13 month stay at the geographic South Pole, with six months of unbroken darkness, inaccessibility from the outside world for ten months, and temperatures exceeding -100F. During this time I witnessed the awesome patience of geological time, observed the scope of human ingenuity, and received a heartbreaking education in the realities of global atmospheric science. The result was a feeling of profound pride at the capacity of human wonder (from the sailboat to the telescope) and a great disappointment in humanityís inability to solve major problems of its own creation (environmental destruction). My work now contains a variety of scientific devices annotated by sublime and sometimes distressing visions of nature painted in a style that references European Romantic and early American landscape traditions. The colossal nature represented in my pictures is built of destruction: Colorado wildfires, oil rig explosions, and melting glaciers. Works like these create conflicted, and sometimes political, spaces while still adhering to traditions of craftsmanship and beauty in Western painting. A communion with the past is utilized to comment on the present and create a place where urgency and hope battle venomous forces.





born: 1983, Madison, Wisconsin



University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, MFA, 2014
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, BFA, 2007


selected awards/honors

United States Medal of Antarctic Service with Bronze Clasp, United States Department of Defense, 2010


selected publications

Manifest Exhibition Annual, Season 10, Cincinnati, Ohio: Manifest Press, 2015
New American Paintings 107, Midwest Edition, Boston, Massachusetts: Open Studios Press, 2013


selected group shows

Jazz Gallery, Distressed Structures, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2015
Gallery 224, Meet the Residents, Port Washington, Wisconsin, 2014
Manifest, Master Pieces, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2014
Elaine Erickson Gallery, Paintings and Works on Paper, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2014


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