I am indebted to Dr. Seuss for having written his children's story "Horton Hears a Who," which first gave me the idea as a young girl that worlds may exist though we can not perceive them. What a concept! Reality may not be what it seems. This cracked open my imagination.
As an artist, I am inspired by what lies at the threshold of perception. I wonder about the unseen, the impalpable, the barely conceivable. The jostling of subatomic particles, the spaces between cells, what mind is, how we understand phenomena, these are some of the things that fascinate me. Science, as a way of knowing, is never far from my thoughts when I work.
Lately, delving into Buddhist philosophy has been surprising for its views on the nature of mind and phenomena. Whereas Dr. Seuss' message was that worlds may exist even if we don't perceive them, Buddhist philosophy introduced me to its inverse--that worlds may not exist even if we perceive them!
Eva Lee is a visual artist and experimental filmmaker, born and raised in New York City. Trained as a painter (MFA, Hunter College, 2000) she is inspired by what lies at the threshold of perception. "I wonder about the unseen, the impalpable, the barely conceivable. The jostling of subatomic particles, the spaces between cells, what mind is, how we understand phenomena, these are the type of things that fascinate me." Some of her work has been described by The New York Times as "hypnotic" depictions of the "awesome infinities and minutiae of the cosmos."
Her interest in the nature of mind has led her to study Buddhist philosophy, and to follow new developments in neuroscience of the brain. Her current works are informed by both Eastern philosophical and Western scientific views of consciousness. She has collaborated with University of Virginia neuroscientist Dr. James Coan to visualize his data on the brain basis of emotions as moving 3D landscapes. The working idea was to make inner subjective states visible as external topography. With Yale University Haskins Laboratories Dr. Einar Mencl, she created an animated visual poem based on his brain imaging from language and sound-related experiments.
The artist's work includes original drawings, animations, video installations, archival digital prints, and Collectors Edition DVDs. She has exhibited at galleries and museums nationally, including The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Smack Mellon, DeCordova Museum, Real Art Ways, Lights on Tampa, Bronx Museum for the Arts, and Louisiana Art & Science Museum. Her animations have screened internationally at venues such as BBC Big Screen Liverpool, and Streaming Festival. Her work is in the permanent collections of Housatonic Museum of Art, Connecticut Artists Collection, City of Tampa Public Art Collection, City University of New York Hunter College, Meditech, and Louisiana Art & Science Museum. She is represented in Tribeca Film Institute Reframe Collection ( https://tribecafilminstitute.org/reframe) where her experimental shorts are available for sale. Awards include Fulbright Scholarship 2013-2014, and fellowships from Asian Cultural Council, Connecticut Commission on the Arts, Mind & Life Summer Research Institute, Connecticut Commission on Culture, and The MacDowell Colony.
Ms. Lee's Fulbright research project, "Indo-Tibetan Mandalas: Blueprints for Discovering the Nature of Mind and Reality," will examine the roots of Buddhist visual culture and tantric practice in the Himalayas. She seeks first-hand experience with wall murals in monasteries, and the people who utilize them in rituals, for an in-depth understanding of mandalas in meditative use. The aim is to gain an immersive comprehension of Buddhist teachings, find inspiration for new creative work, and share the continued relevance of mandalas for meditation practice which neuroscientific studies link to beneficial changes in emotions as well as the structure and function of the brain. Follow her on her Fulbright blog: http://artistfulbrightindia.wordpress.com/
Video art by Eva Lee