Matthew Lee is a Wisconsin born realist painter. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in 2007 where his focus was drawing and watercolor. In the years following his undergraduate work Lee worked on several scientific research stations in Antarctica. This included a year long stay at the Geographic South Pole where he studied field medicine and taught watercolor classes to scientists and support personnel. Lee entered the Graduate School in 2011 and his time working on research stations for prolonged periods has had a significant impact on his artwork.
Lee’s current research focuses on oil paintings of large scientific devices in a landscape or cityscape tradition. A focus on science as an imaginative practice in tandem with art and philosophy is the pivotal focus of the work. The practicality of the machines and the fantasy of the painting collide and struggle for control. Within the “little world” of the paintings the machines are free to take on other connotations which they would not acquire in the real world. Inside the painting they become massive sculptures, absurd constructions, and towering monuments whose purposes no longer seem so defined.