Slightly Under Cover | Lee Nowell-Wilson (b. 1989, Maryland USA)
15cm x 15cm (6" x 6"), graphite and charcoal, 2019
About the artist:
Lee Nowell-Wilson is a figurative artist, living and working in Baltimore, USA. She earned her BFA in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2011, and has participated in artist residencies in both the US and Europe. Her work has been exhibited globally. She has also completed murals + urban art pieces in Norway, France, Northern Ireland and Chile.
Recently in 2019, Lee founded, curated and edited MILKED, an arts publication that features work about the maternal form by female artists. Her own work has been featured in many publications and online blogs. She has spoken widely about art and the maternal experience, most notably on a panel at Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington DC and the Artist/Mother podcast.
Through drawing, painting and installation, my work explores themes of weight, movement, and physicality through the lens of the maternal figure. While using a combination of realistically rendered figures, detailed patterning and abstract mark making, my work incorporates humour and universally mundane objects as a way to expose the overwhelming, weighty and emotional undertones of birth, domestic labor, and postpartum in an ironic way. Deconstructed laundry forms, pillows and boxes become metaphors for anxiety and an ambivalent mindset. The nature of the materials I use reflect the nature of a mother’s work - slow, tedious and sensitive. However, this sensitivity is contrasted in my use of heavy marks and deep tones of black, speaking to the more unspoken nature of maternity - that of aggression, tension, tearing and stretching. The level of detail in the patterns I draw also point to a yearning of control, all while my figures themselves (primarily self-portraits) are struggling within each composition in some way or another.