“The world enters our body via sensual portals: eyes, nose, ears, skin and nervous system, it is then translated by our brains into meaning and experience.” —Jocelyn Lee
The Appearance of Things attempts to access this tactile and optical experience and explores how we are enmeshed in an embodied and ephemeral world. All life, including our human form and being, passes through stages of birth, blossoming, and death.
Life occupies environments – it makes itself at home, and enacts an arc of existence on this stage, be it a pond, a forest, or a suburban home. Each image strives to celebrate a multitude of sensual bodies: animals, plants, and human beings. In many ways, the photographs are cabinets of wonder, echoing nineteenth century natural science’s fascination with the diversity of life.
The Appearance of Things represents nearly 10 years of work by Lee, and encompasses still life, portrait, and landscape photographs, as well as many images that fuse these genres. This mingling is partly what the work is about: creating a shift in perspective where a body (portrait) becomes a landscape; a still life becomes a portrait; and a landscape becomes a body.
Printed at large scale, the photographs beckon the viewer to a cinematic immersion in the image. The installation of the work as triptychs and diptychs juxtaposes various bodies in divergent earthly environments and shifts scale significantly across the images. The works are meant to engage the body of the viewer and become galaxies of their own through the use of space and the dilation and contraction of scale.
Jocelyn Lee was born in Naples, Italy and received her BA in philosophy and visual arts from Yale University, and her MFA in photography from Hunter College. In 2013 she received a NYFA Fellowship, and in 2001 she received a Guggenheim Fellowship. She is represented by Pace MacGill Gallery in New York, Flatland Gallery in Amsterdam and Huxley-Parlour in London.
Lee’s first monograph Nowhere but here was published by Steidl Publishers in December 2010 with a forward by Sharon Olds. In 1996 her work The Youngest Parents was published by DoubleTake Books and The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University in collaboration with Robert Coles and John Moses.
Her works are in the collections of Maison européenne de la photographie, Paris, France; The Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany; The Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; The List Center at MIT, Cambridge, MA; Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO; Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME; The Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee, WI; Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, ME; The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, NC; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Bates College Museum of Art, Lewiston, ME; and Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, ME; as well as numerous private collections.
Her work has appeared in many national and international publications including The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Photo Raw (Helsinki, Finland), Snoeks (Germany), Real Simple, MORE magazine, PDN, Allegra (The Netherlands), DoubleTake, the Hayden Review, Marie Claire (Taiwan), Harpers and others.
Lee taught photography at Princeton University from 2003-2012 and at The Maine College of Art from 1993-2001. She has been a visiting artist at Yale University, Bowdoin College, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and New York University.
Header image: Jenna and fallen apples, 2016
CMCA Exclusive Limited Edition Print | Sales support the exhibition
Jocelyn Lee, Wedding Flowers 2, 2015/2018
Archival pigment print | 20×16 image | edition of 50, printed in 2018
$950 | purchase here
Jocelyn Lee | The Appearance of Things – Exhibition Catalog
50 pages | Soft cover | 9 x 12 in | Essay by Bill Roorbach
Edition of 500 | Designed by David Barnitz Williams | Printed by Meridian Printing
$40 | Pre-order price | purchase here
In the Press
Exhibition Press Kit | .pdf
Jocelyn Lee’s melancholy photographs of women through every stage of life in Creative Boom by Tora Baker – March 4, 2018
10 Must-See Artists at AIPAD’s Photography Show in Artsy by Alina Cohen – April 9, 2018
Transient Moments in Aesthetica Magazine – April 11, 2018
Jocelyn Lee’s first UK solo exhibition surveys The Appearance of Things (NSFW) in It’s Nice That by Lucy Bourton – April 19, 2018
“The Unclothed Body is Our Primary Vessel”: Photographing Vulnerability in AnOther by Miss Rosen – April 20, 2018
Jocelyn Lee: The Appearance of Things at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Lens/cratch by Aline Smithson – June 5, 2018
The Ticket: What’s happening in the local arts world in The Boston Globe by Cate McQuaid – June 15, 2018
Jocelyn Lee’s painterly portraits of nudes immersed in nature in The New Yorker by Rebecca Bengal – June 15, 2018
Jocelyn Lee explores the cycle of life in photography exhibition in Rockland in MaineToday by Bob Keyes – June 18, 2018