Cleveland-based painter Nick Lee was recently selected by jurors J. Leigh Garcia and Dara Harper for Summit Artspace’s inaugural funded solo exhibition for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) artists. Lee’s exhibition, When We Share Our Wounds, will be on view from April 8 – June 25 in Summit Artspace’s 3G Gallery.
The goal of this new project is to amplify the voices of northeast Ohio’s BIPOC artists. “Art is rich in color, culture, and expression. It makes sense for those creating the art to be represented as such, too!” noted juror Dara Harper.
Lee is a graduate of Kent State University. As a Japanese American artist, he strives to make American portraiture more inclusive by representing minorities. Lee has shown work in the United States, England, and Germany, and has multiple printed publications, including Defunkt Magazine and local Kent State magazines.
“Nick Lee’s use of vibrant color and bold imagery bring the viewer in on a formal and technical level. We’re then met with subtle messages that allude to complex racial and political themes. It’s exciting to see an emerging artist tackle difficult topics such as racial stereotypes, oppression, and ‘otherness,’ and Nick does so in a way that is approachable and even humorous at times,” said juror J. Leigh Garcia. “I’m so excited to see Nick Lee’s work at Summit Artspace and believe it will spark some important conversations in our community about the hard truth that racism towards Asian communities is prevalent in the United States, not only overtly, but also subtly through biases and systems of oppression.”
When We Share Our Wounds explores the presentation of traditionally underrepresented people throughout the history of Western art. Through medium- and large-scale figurative oil paintings, this body of work seeks to better represent Japanese Americans—a culture that has been diminished in the traditional history of American portraiture.
“These paintings depict members of my family who have several shared experiences of Japanese descent living in America,” notes Lee. The series also has multiple self-portraits to demonstrate the artist’s personal connection to these issues. “When we as Americans can see people from all backgrounds in our media and paintings, we can better understand them and relate to them as people. When we share our wounds, we can start a conversation that one might not have otherwise,” Lee said.
Questions regarding the exhibition may be directed to Summit Artspace’s Director of Artist Resources, Natalie Grieshammer Patrick.