In Lindy Lee's current exhibition Ten Worlds, Ten Directions at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Lee has moved from using specific faces taken from actual historical portraits and the portraits of loved-ones to the more generalised and symbolic faces of Buddha and Bodhisattva. In this way, she makes explicit the Zen Buddhist motivation behind her work, its ever-present spiritual dimension. These are, however, also intensely personal works as the particular images of Buddha and Bodhisattva that she uses are taken from the statues from her home altar. The Bodhisattva of Compassion, Kuan-yin, that Lee depicts is also known as the Chinese Goddess of Mercy. It is she who hears the cries of the world.
Lee's familiar grids combine monochrome panels with calligraphic wax spills and digitally-reproduced faces that disappear into an inky darkness. The explosions of black or coloured wax stand for the transforming energies of the universe. They are sensations that shiver across equanimous pools of colour. Lee makes these abstract gestures from a position of meditative concentration. This enables her to let the mark find unity with the transitory moment.
"Lee asks us to consider the relationship of art to the reality of an interdependent and transient world through exploring the relationship between copy and the original, or between different photocopies of the one image; and the interrelationships of panels within and between works. Her art pivots around the relation between self and other—through portraits of other people, and more recently 'splats' where the artist is a conduit for outside forces." (Linda Michael, Three Views of Emptiness—Buddhism and the Art of Tim Johnson, Lindy Lee, Peter Tyndall, exh. Cat. Monash University, 2001).
Ten Worlds, Ten Directions will consist of a group of multi-panelled paintings featuring Buddhist imagery as well as a new Chinese accordion book.
Lindy Lee was born in Brisbane of Chinese parents. Her work is held in every major collection in Australia. In 2002, with the aid of grants from the Australia Council and the NSW Ministry of the Arts fellowship, Lee travelled to Tibet to do research for her present body of work, comparing Buddhist and Taoist art forms. Lee was a founding board member of Gallery 4A in Sydney's Chinatown. In 1996, she was included in the exhibition Spirit + Place and in 1996 in Photography is Dead, Long Live Photography, both at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. She has also shown in numerous other group exhibitions in museums both in Australia and abroad. She has been exhibiting with Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery since 1986.