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Portrait of Maia Ruth Lee, 2023. Photo by Hyunjung Rhee

Portrait of Maia Ruth Lee, 2023. Photo by Hyunjung Rhee

Tina Kim Gallery is pleased to announce its representation of Maia Ruth Lee (b. 1983). The Busan-born, Colorado-based artist will now be jointly represented by both Tina Kim Gallery in New York and François Ghebaly in Los Angeles.
“Maia is an artist who thinks deeply about the human condition, especially as concerns of migration have resonance in all of our lives. We are thrilled to welcome Maia to our roster of internationally renowned contemporary artists and important historical masters.” said Tina Kim, the founder of Tina Kim Gallery.

Maia Ruth Lee’s first exhibition at the gallery, The skin of the earth is seamless, closes May 6th. Comprising paintings, sculptures, and video works, the exhibition presents an expanded look at her Bondage Baggage series (2018-ongoing). The works in the exhibition were born out of the artist’s longstanding concerns surrounding the physical, psychological, and emotional experiences of a diasporic migratory life. Born in Busan, South Korea, then growing up between Kathmandu and Seoul, Lee spent over a decade in New York City, recently relocating to Salida, Colorado. Her lived experience of migrating as well as an awareness and empathy for the life of migrants in Kathmandu serve as continual source of inspiration and investigation for Lee. Language as a mechanism in its ability and failure to shape and give account to experiences, memories, and emotions has been a major thread in Lee’s work, as for those whose lives are precarious and unrooted— maps, atlases, and banners become a device that calls to mind their life of movement, and often, loss. Lee’s use of india ink, with its reference to calligraphy, point to human compulsion for storytelling, mark making, and archiving. Rather than lingering in futility and loss, Lee’s work opens up a passageway, forging new lexicons that give form to lives of transience, their stories, beyond immediate and accepted forms of legibility and comprehension.

Maia Ruth Lee has held solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (CO), Francois Ghebaly Gallery (LA), and Jack Hanley Gallery (NY). Lee has participated in numerous group exhibitions including the Aspen Art Museum (CO), 2019 Whitney Biennial, Hammer Museum, Helena Anrather Gallery, CANADA gallery, Studio Museum 127 in Harlem, amongst others. Lee attended Hongik University in Seoul, and the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, Canada. In addition, Lee was the recipient of the Gold Art Prize in 2021 and the Rema Hort Mann grant in 2017. Her work is held in the public collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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