Lee Price is an American figurative realist painter from New York. Born in Elmira, New York, raised in a household of women and a graduate of Moore College of Art of Philadelphia, she has been working on the relationship between women and food for more than a decade. 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 at the Art Students League and had several years of private studies with Alyssa Monks through the New York Academy of Art. Her figures are usually set in private environments and captured in moments where they appear to be lost in consumption and are often portrayed from an aerial point of view, that creates an illusion of an out of the body experience. Her work has been featured in gallery exhibitions in the USA and Australia and numerous art publications worldwide. She currently lives and works in NY.
In her own words:
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 behaviour. 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 behaviour 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 behaviour 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 endeavours, 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?
All images © Lee Price