international painting annual 6 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Matthew Lee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Professor

detail image


I have been, and am currently involved with, several scientific organizations which have influenced my work including the United States Antarctic Program and the Carthage Institute of Paleontology. The spaces within my paintings pay homage to the capacity for human wonder (the telescope) while also depicting disappointment in humanity's inability to solve major problems of its own creation (environmental destruction). The paintings form an archive of humanity's most ambitious technologies: telescopes, particle colliders, science vessels, and neutrino detectors. In these intimate landscapes each machine erupts and transforms the land around them. The pictures are rooted in Romantic American and European landscape traditions while the lovingly detailed machines transform the spaces, making them both familiar and foreign. Within the tableau, the human elements are imbued with the artist's reverence for civilization and the beauty of human ingenuity but the pictures also seem ominous. What appear to be clouds or land are painted from collages of Colorado wildfires, oilrig explosions, and melting glaciers. Nature and its unfortunate realities strongly interject into human idealisms within the pictures and a conflicted space emerges.





born: 1983, Madison, WI



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


selected awards/honors

First Place, Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpting Competition, Harbin, China, 2012
United States Medal of Antarctic Service, Department of Defense, 2010


selected publications

Manifest Creative Research and Drawing Center, International Painting Annual 5, Cincinnati, OH, 2015
Manifest Creative Research and Drawing Center, 10th Exhibition Annual, Cincinnati, OH, 2015
Open Studios Press, New American Paintings 107, Midwest Edition, Boston, MA, 2013


selected solo or two-person exhibits

Institute of Visual Arts (INOVA), The Empire of Debris, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, 2014


selected group shows

Gallery 224, The World Retrieved, Port Washington, WI, 2015
Manifest Creative Research and Drawing Center, Scientificous, Cincinnati, OH, 2015
Jazz Gallery, Distressed Structures, Milwaukee, WI, 2015
New Paintings, Elaine Erikson Gallery, Milwaukee WI, 2014



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