Sandra Eula Lee: The Walking Mountain

Marité & Joe Robinson Strolling Gallery I
September 29, 2023–February 4, 2024

Sandra Eula Lee is a multidisciplinary artist who transforms ordinary and found objects for the purpose of exploring notions of permanence. This exhibition showcases selections from “The Walking Mountain” series, which primarily consists of over 80 drawings created since 2014. Ranging in size, the drawings incorporate varied materials such as ink, watercolor, graphite, colored pencil, thread, and relief print on different papers and fabric. Lee’s diverse compositions feature meticulously arranged mounds of rocks, outlines of rock formations, and geometric shapes with radiating lines. The artist was inspired to create this series after encountering piles of stones in the mountains of South Korea, while she was living in Seoul. She explains, “I [saw] this form repeated in daily life—piles of rubble from demolished buildings, piles of brick and concrete waiting to be used for construction, burial mounds from the land; simultaneous states of orientation, deterioration, and becoming.” The title of this series refers to a concept from a Japanese Buddhist sutra by the philosopher Dogen Zenji. He writes: “Because mountains and waters have been active since before the Empty Aeon, they are alive at this moment … Mountains’ walking is just like human walking.” The artist notes that the mountain’s movement “may appear different from a human’s but we know they walk because their heads are in the sky and their feet are in the water.” This expansive collection of drawings is a reflection on the interconnectedness of human experience, migration, and geological shifts. By juxtaposing subtle landscape transformations with rapid urban development, Lee reveals the relative nature of the passage of time.

Artist Bio:
Sandra Eula Lee is a Korean-American artist and educator who has taught at Franklin & Marshall College, Kenyon College, and University of the Arts London. Her interdisciplinary artwork has been exhibited internationally in solo exhibitions including a 10-year survey at The Hilliard Museum in Lafayette, LA; Art Space Pool in Seoul, South Korea; The Martin Art Gallery at Muhlenberg College, and CEAC in Xiamen, China. Her work has been featured in group exhibitions at the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, Incheon Art Platform in Seoul; Inside-Out Museum in Beijing; DadaPost in Berlin; Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University; Smack Mellon in Brooklyn; Goucher College in Baltimore; and recently at the Delaware Contemporary. Lee is an Andrew Mellon Foundation Fellow and has received awards from the Asian Cultural Council, and the 2020 Individual Artist Award from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Her Artist-in-Residence fellowships include The Elizabeth Foundation Studio Center, The Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Residency Unlimited, Seoul Museum of Art, and the Vermont Studio Center. Lee received her BFA from Cornell University and MFA from Hunter College, and is currently Assistant Professor of Art at Montclair State University.

Sandra Eula Lee, The Walking Mountain (series), 2014-23 Mixed media on paper 8.5 The Walking Mountain (series), 2014-23 Mixed media on paper 8.5 x 11 inches x 11 inches

Sandra Eula Lee, The Walking Mountain (series), 2014–2023, Mixed media on paper, 8.5 x 11 inches.

Sandra Elua Lee, The Walking Mountain (series), 2014-23 Hand-stitching on paper 10 x 12.75 inches

Sandra Eula Lee, The Walking Mountain (series), 2014–2023, Hand-stitching on paper, 10 x 12.75 inches

Major support for the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey is provided by The Wilf Family Foundations; Peter R. & Cynthia K. Kellogg Foundation; New Jersey State Council on the Arts; The Estate of Pamela Hauptfleisch; and the Art Center community of supporters.