Rena Bransten Gallery is pleased to present The Sea Will Come to Kiss Me, a site-specific installation by Los Angeles based artist Bovey Lee. Engendered in response to the contentious rhetoric of the recent election, The Sea Will Come to Kiss Me mirrors Lee’s anxiety as an immigrant, a woman, and a person of color.
Entering the gallery, the viewer is confronted with a perforated wall. This barrier is impassable, yet visually permeable; behind it hundreds of paper boats, meticulously folded from the artist’s immigration paperwork, are suspended from the ceiling. Using the wall as a metaphor for exclusion and longing, the gallery and its contents can be seen, but not entered.
While Lee is best known for her precise technique of cut paper, it has been the imagery that has been her primary focus. In this installation, it is the material. Lee has kept her immigration documentation for over a decade, despite having been reassured that saving these papers was unnecessary. Unable to part with this proof of her citizenship, Lee has kept these stacks of papers as one keeps photographs, for a sense of self, for proof of the past, and as an anchor indicating safe harbor. Transforming these documents into boats – vessels of movement and change which can be either coming or going – Lee suggests a feeling of uncertainty and a sense that the anchor has been dislodged.
Along with the installation will be several works on paper of Lee's petitions to the Department of Justice with incised imagery, and objects related to her immigration to the United States, which next year will have been half her life ago.
Bovey Lee was born in Hong Kong and came to the US in 1993 to study art. She has a BA in Fine Arts from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, an MFA in painting from UC Berkeley and an MFA in Digital Arts from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY. National and international exhibitions include Fuller Craft Museum, MA; Nevada Museum of Art; Museum of Craft & Design, CA; Brooklyn Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Beijing, China; Fukuoka Museum of Art, Japan; Hong Kong Museum of Art. Her work is in the collections of the Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology, Oxford University, UK; USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, CA; Hong Kong Museum of Art; Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, CA, among others. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.