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Blake Gallery to feature "Seven Directions" The Art of Joan Lee

August 12, 2005



One of the many pieces of artwork by Joan Lee on display in the University of Maine at Fort Kent Blake Library Gallery through September 30. (Photograph copyright JHLee.)

The University of Maine at Fort Kent Blake Library Gallery is featuring the art of Joan H. Lee in an exhibit entitled "Seven Directions", which will run August 19 and remain on display through September 30.

According to Lee, "Seven Directions" refers to the traditional directions of north, east, south, west, up, down, and right here.

"The pictures are inspired by different places, ideas and times, all coming together right here. I have ready to show expressive art, as well as a few examples of natural science illustration," said Lee.

Lee is an artist who has had many opportunities to experience and appreciate the cultural and geographic diversity of this country, and to accept as natural the many differences as well as similarities that we share.

"I have included local places in the exhibit," said Lee. "I am a resident of the St. John Valley, and it often takes a while to really absorb a place so that I can understand it and say something worthwhile about it in visual terms."

Included in the exhibit is a sample of tools for making illuminations. Illumination is a decorative art in which gold is used as one of the elements in a composition.

Also on display are some of the tools of the trade for making natural science drawings. Natural Science Illustration is usually defined as "art in the service of science".

Lee is an expressive artist and a natural science illustrator in the areas of botany, archeology and anthropology. She teaches botanical illustrations and nature art in museums and adult education settings.

"Expressive art and science illustration are widely different disciplines, with different objectives and techniques and I am comfortable in working with both," states Lee.

She received her bachelor of arts degree in English and earned a master's degree in comparative literature from Roosevelt University in Chicago. Lee also received a certificate in law for community developers from John Marshall Law School and studied publishing at the University of Chicago.

She studied science illustration at the Field Museum of National History in Chicago, and art (life drawing) from the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.

"I have been an artist and writer my entire life," said Lee. "When I was a child and people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up it was such an odd question. I simply knew I was an artist"

Lee has exhibited in national juried competitions and in solo exhibits, including the Denver Botanical Garden Gallery in Colorado, National Wildlife Gallery in Arlingtion, Virginia, and New Mexico State Museum.

She has completed illustrations for Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist, Audubon Society and others. Judson College in Illinois made a purchase award of one of her watercolors

Lee is a member of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, for which she has presented papers on art, and co-founded the Chicago chapter.

Lee has recently returned from the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators 2005 conference held at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. At the conference, she presented a session entitled "How NOT To Begin a Freelance Business". Lee notes that beginning a freelance business isn't easy, but there are ways to make it easier.

The exhibit may be viewed during Blake Library hours. For more information regarding the exhibit, call Sofia Birden, gallery curator at (207) 834-7527.

A reception for the artist will be held on Friday, September 16, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. to coincide with UMFK's Come to Campus Days festivities.