American Contemporary Figurative Realist painter Lee Price focuses on the subject of food with the solitary female figure in private, intimate settings — figures that are always lost in what might appear to be the bliss of consumption in highly unusual environments and portrayed from a unique aerial point of view. This odd perspective creates an illusion or feeling of an out of body experience as if the subject is looking down at herself. While clearly demonstrating her amazing technical skills, the circumstance of consistently depicting female figures in the act of compulsive behavior tends to hint at an underlying message.
Lee Price grew up in a small town in upstate New York ...
... Her mother was a high school art teacher, and her father left home when she and her two sisters were very young. As a result, Lee was raised in a household of women. She suspects that this may have had some impact on her work. As a Graduate of Moore College of Art of Philadelphia, Lee Price proved her amazing talent for painting. Early in her career Lee established a pattern of painting intimate moments of a woman’s life with a very realistic tone. Continuing her artistic development, she studied with the Bo Bartlett Art Students League, and had several years of private studies with Alyssa Monks through the New York Academy of Art. She relocated to California for eleven years, but has since returned to her home state, where she resides to this date.
There are two threads that my paintings follow: one being a discussion on women’s relationship with food, the other being a discussion on compulsive behavior. At times the two threads intertwine. The overhead perspective emphasizes the fact that the women are watching their own actions; watching themselves in the middle of their out of control behavior but unable to stop. The settings are private spaces, spaces of solitude, and mainly, unusual places to find someone eating. The private space emphasizes the secrecy of compulsive behavior and the unusual settings emphasize its absurdity. The solitude/peace of the setting is a good juxtaposition to the frenetic, out-of-control feel of the woman’s actions.
One of the most potent messages these pieces deliver is that of excessive waste. Not just material waste but the waste of time and energy that is used up in obsession. Energy that could be directed towards productive endeavors, through our compulsive activity, is instead being used to wrap us in a cocoon. Where we could be walking forward, we instead paralyze ourselves. For the women in these paintings, even with an excess of food, there is no nourishment. Unable to sit with the discomfort/unease of the present moment, these women take in excessive amounts and in the process are shutting out the possibility of being truly nourished.
Most women brought up to be givers. To nurture others at the expense of our own needs. We hide our appetites, not just for food but in many areas of our lives, and then consume in secret. In my most recent works the women seem to be coming out of the closet. Eyeing the viewer — not censoring their hunger. My paintings ask what is it that truly nourishes us and how truthful can we be about the size of our hunger?
SELECTED AWARDS AND HONORS
George Sugarman Foundation Grant, 2007
Elmira Regional Art Society Award, Regional 2005, Arnot Art Museum, 2005
Best Work in Oil, Regional 2004, Arnot Art Museum, 2004
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Commission to design and execute all diorama backdrops Behring Family Hall permanent exhibit, Washington, DC, 2003
Dubi Shiff Collection, Tel Aviv, Israel
Howard A. and Judith Tullman art collection, Chicago, IL
Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting, 1990 Cum Laude
Private studies with Alyssa Monks
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Bo Bartlett
Art Students League, Costa Vavagiakis and Nelson Shanks
New York Academy of Art, Alyssa Monks and Dan Thompson