Doah Lee is an interdisciplinary visual artist based in Philadelphia. She was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. She earned her MFA from University of Pennsylvania and her BFA with a concentration in Painting and Printmaking at the School of Art Institute of Chicago. In her work, she explores and exploits cultural symbols through repetition in a practice that mediates on cultural translation, immigration, otherness and femininity in focusing more specifically on issue of self-identification. She searches through the ways how children speak, listen, see, and draw and their relationships with the influencing points over a person’s identity under socio-political and cultural pressures. The work has been featured in various exhibitions in Virginia, Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Seoul, South Korea. She has been a resident-artist at Vermont Studio Center and Cheltenham Center of the Art. She is a curator and co-director of an artist-run exhibition space, FJORD gallery and currently works as a visiting art critic and artist in residency at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Sailor-Moon is a fictional superhero schoolgirl who was popularized in Japanese animation and culture in the early 90’s. She had her prime time in Asia, her birthplace, while finding a new home in American society through her expedition overseas. Sailor-Moon also had her prime time in America, but the American Sailor-Moon does not remember her time in Asia, and vice versa. Now, the Sailor-Moons are meeting in Chinatown, in the U.S., connecting their hands, touching their palms. Fingers are weaving together their lives, and they are turning around, facing people through self-conscious eyes, showing how the outer world has been consuming and perceiving them in the reality.
This action is a coalition of missing moments in different spaces and time in the different universes and is a reflection of my life’s journey. Dislocating myself from Korea to the U.S. constructs my experiential process as a reality of what it means to live as a foreigner and Asian woman in America today. I explore and exploit cultural symbols through repetition in a practice that meditates on conflicted cultural translation, immigration, otherness, and femininity while interrogating issues of self-identification. I invoke my childhood memories to examine the time when images had begun to wield influence over a person’s identity under socio-political and cultural pressures. I search through the ways of how children speak, listen, see and draw, and their relationships with the influencing points that evince these pressures.
My studio process integrates diverse aspects of printmaking, textiles and installation elements into the format of painting. I dye my own fabric, iron and hand sew the digitally printed textile images, screen print along with drawing, painting, and finish with layering various images on top of the other. This creative process is a response to my experience of the complex nature of the two different environments, such as the politics of education systems and cities both foreign and familiar. My work is about reconciling all the fragmented and conflicted identities into a hybrid format by manipulating the full range of languages from sophisticated pictorial tools to the use of all the ingredients of childhood materials and cute, naïve and uninhibited ways.