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Jun Lee

Jun Lee (Washington, DC) is a printmaker who works in large format woodcut utilizing animals as metaphors to convey competition in our daily lives. She is the owner of JUN LEE PRINTS and a current Printmaking Associate at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center (Hyattsville, MD). Lee is a DC Art Bank Grant recipient from 2019 – 2022, awarded by the Government of DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and was a grant awardee from the Montgomery County Public Art Trust in 2019. She completed the artist residency at Lee Arts Center (VA, 2014 – 2020), Montgomery College Takoma Park/Silver Spring (MD, 2018), the Denbo Fellowship from Pyramid Atlantic Art Center (MD, 2017), and the winter residency at Penland School of Crafts (NC, 2017 – 2020) Lee’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including: West Virginia University (WV), Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory (OH), Big Medium Gallery (TX), Pyramid Atlantic Art Center (MD), University of Wisconsin-Parkside (WI), Art Gym Denver (CO), LUX Center for the Arts (NE), American University Museum (DC), Artists and Makers Studios (MD), Highpoint Center for Printmaking (MN), Maryland Institute College of Art (MD), Montgomery College (MD), Purdue University Galleries (IN), Insa Art Center (Seoul, South Korea), Daimler Financial Services Atrium (Berlin, Germany). She has taught several printmaking workshops at locations such as Penland School of Crafts (NC), Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts (TN), Montgomery College (MD), Penland School of Crafts (NC), Pyramid Atlantic Art Center (MD), Lee Arts Center (VA). Lee received her MFA in Print Media 2007 from Cranbrook Academy of Art (MI) and her BFA in Illustration 2002, and a Post Baccalaureate in Printmaking 2004 from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design (MN).

Competition is an inherent quality of man, one that we often try to ignore, but it rules every aspect of our lives. We constantly try to one-up our fellow man. The reality is that all life is competition and we create barriers in our minds that allow us to think we have a space we can step into where the competition stops. We seek to find ways to hide from its unease, to shade ourselves from the harshness of its glaring bright light, so we put on disguises that shield our identities and true motives for a while. Animals have a competitive instinct to survive, which can seem isolating and solitary. But with their herd, there is companionship and safety with others. I use animals as a metaphor for the desire and fear in life; a rooster symbolizes a winner or a loser, but one that can anticipate the demands of the fight. I use the roosters as a disguise to hide my own fear along with anticipation to be the last one standing. The ability to be successful is not dependent on the number of triumphs that you have, but rather on your willingness to get up and continue the struggle after a defeat. We can't all be winners in every battle, but you will always find fellowship in other losers. My series of prints attempts to evoke the different emotional moments of our competitive lives; pieces that express the spectrum of competition from hiding away to preparing for a fight. That constructed time allows us to regroup and enter the next fight toward our goal. Every attempt might not succeed or look glorious, but every victory is built upon the foundation of loss, suffering, effort, and sacrifice.

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