Painter Jane Lee shows print and paper experiments

Jane Lee (with a part of the complex work titled Second Chance) uses birds as a recurring motif. Set Me Free VII (Detail, above), another of her works.
Jane Lee (with a part of the complex work titled Second Chance) uses birds as a recurring motif. Set Me Free VII (Detail, above), another of her works. PHOTOS: JANE LEE, TAMARA CRAIU

Artist Jane Lee, known for giving her works a tactile quality by squiggling thick layers of paint on canvas, ventures into new artistic territory in her new solo exhibition.

Her 50 works combine animation, video and sound with print works and were produced during her five-week residency at print institute STPI in Robertson Quay.

The 52-year-old artist says the exhibition, titled Freely, Freely, references the sense of freedom she felt during her residency. "I felt very free because, for the first time, I was stepping into a studio space where I did not have to paint."

The sense of freedom and the institute's openness to ideas allowed her to experiment with sound and animation.


Jane Lee (above, with a part of the complex work titled Second Chance) uses birds as a recurring motif. Set Me Free VII (Detail), another of her works.

  • VIEW IT / FREELY, FREELY BY JANE LEE

  • WHERE: STPI, 41 Robertson Quay

    WHEN: Jan 17 to March 5; Jan 17, noon to 5pm; other days 10am to 7pm (Monday to Friday), 9am to 6pm (Saturday)

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: www.stpi.com.sg

  • SINGAPORE ART WEEK PANEL: BECOMING JANE

  • WHAT: Artist Jane Lee, STPI chief printer Eitaro Ogawa, gallerist Sundaram Tagore and art writer Tony Godfrey hold a panel discussion on the multiple facets of Lee’s artistic journey and practice as an artist

    WHERE: STPI

    WHEN: Sunday, 2.30 to 3.30pm

    ADMISSION: Free, register at education@stpi.com.sg

In one striking work, Unfolded Dream, she used handmade cotton paper to make six boxes with peep holes. Peering into the peep holes, viewers can see bird forms flying on a screen inside the paper works.

In the installation titled Inner Songs, layers of paper were used to create tree trunks and are accompanied by the chirping of birds.

She says: "I have long been drawn to the sound of birds and have wanted to incorporate it in my art.

"Birds make me think about how many people never get the freedom to do what they want to do. While we are often told freedom is our birthright, we are often trapped doing things we do not want to do."

The bird is a recurring motif in the exhibition. Fragile paper birds drift and glide in some of the works. Sometimes, the birds appear trapped within acrylic sheets.

Lee says: "The STPI residency gave me the freedom to push my own boundaries as an artist. I had been very comfortable with my painting."

In a highly detailed artwork titled Coiling, paper is coiled and held firmly in one place with pins. Bird forms are seen trapped inside.

Lee, whose work was presentedat the Venice Biennale last year, says of the latest show: "I want it to be accessible. Even if you do not know anything about art, I want you to see it, feel free and have fun."


  • Watch artist Jane Lee in conversation with STPI chief printer Eitaro Ogawa. Go to http://bit.ly/1KcLcmG
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2016, with the headline 'Taking flight with sound of birds'. Print Edition | Subscribe