Matthew Warren Lee

Region: Midwest


City / State: Milwaukee, WI

While working at research stations in Antarctica, I became interested in the aesthetics of telescopes. These massive seeing-machines are often the only structures that punctuate the otherwise seamless expanse of the continent: some of Earth’s most remote and least hospitable locales. Unspoiled natural settings like these provide ideal subjects for landscape paintings, and the addition of the uncommon manmade structures produces images that are both familiar and foreign. When painted, the machines appear luminous but solid, animated but perfectly still, fantastic while thoroughly earthbound. Painting the telescopic subjects seems to transform them. Within the tableau, the telescopes are reinvigorated with a sense of wonder, become monuments to industrial culture, or join the archive of failed futuristic visions. These paintings have the ability to reveal the hidden qualities of their subjects and seek a form that can give equal weight to science and art as producers of knowledge.