Belinda Lee

Region: Midwest

I show people in their specific, situational contexts. I strive to record and interpret the multiple layers of environmental and circumstantial factors that manifest in the individual, as well as the way one may view oneself. This reflects the schism in our culture, which on one hand holds people as they really are, and on the other reflects people as they would like to be, or the way the culture dictates they should be. This contrast of reality versus artifice is a signifier of contemporary culture.

I see myself as a visual anthropologist, collecting and describing data that details a difficult, changing and complicated world. I am driven to portray people I perceive as being on the edge or in a transitional state. These representations may be subtle or extreme and may reflect class, generational, economic or personal shifts. My subjects become archetypes that represent who we are, both collectively and individually as people.

I hope to carry forward the tradition of portraiture in a viable, meaningful fashion. Painting portraits today, one must continually assess the value of representing a person in paint rather than in a photograph. Hence, I feel that my choice of material is crucial to the image, inspiring the same raw connections as the complexity of emotions in a living, breathing human being.