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Rich in layers built from repetitive marks and material, the work mimics the accumulation of my experiences and memories while connecting my body to my mind through a somatic experience. The work is the result of my quest to better perceive myself, often through an interdisciplinary approach, and it relies heavily on using material, the object, gesture, and process to investigate mental health, trauma, memory, ritual, body dysmorphia, disordered eating, and the female body. It also functions to offer relief from tensions, traumas, and ticks by creating a space where mindfulness is available when needed. I believe that memory is held in the body. By becoming more aware of my body sensations through somatic experiencing and mark making, I can better process my memories, and eventually release and relieve the symptoms and repetitive actions that manifest subconsciously through my body memory. I seek to foster a conversation between my marks and memories, my body and mind, and the work and the viewer.

Utilizing a plethora of materials on various substrates and objects, layers accumulate through meditative, somatic and repetitive mark-making and gestures. Materials employed are often gesso, acrylic, ink, oil stick, graphite, and charcoal on plexiglass, mirror, wood, tissue, and glassine. I approach my practice with curiosity and openness, and I accept my interdisciplinary nature as I work through different projects, often adopting an artist-as-excavator role. I want to dig into the work to reveal the foundation. Oscillating between additive and subtractive, the work performs as a palimpsest because layers inform layers, and there is no clear hierarchy in the order that marks and material were placed and/or removed.

The discipline I work in may fluctuate from project to project, but palimpsests, excavation, repetition, and the somatic experience remain steady. There is an emphasis on allegorical materiality: tissue to engage fragility and refracted and reflected mirror to speak on perception and body dysmorphia. Gestures act as a vehicle for mindfulness and marks are a record–even seen as a tally–of my daily consumptions and preoccupations. I am also influenced by my environment and upbringing. The overcast tones found in my work are derived from my upbringing in the Pacific Northwest and my background in intaglio printmaking.

Aaryn Lee

Updated 2022

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