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heights arts Blog


January 13th – March 12th

Opening, 5pm-8pm

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Intimate and Close By

Nick Lee (b. 1996) is a painter and 2021 Kent State graduate. The work that interests Lee is the diversity we have as people. The goal of Lee’s work is to be more inclusive in American portraiture. His work strives for better representation of minorities like Lee, who is Japanese American. Lee was awarded with the first BIPOC funded solo exhibition at Summit Artspace in Spring 2022. Lee was also awarded with the Urgent Art Fund in Fall 2022.

This body of work explores the overlooked and underrepresented people in the history of portraiture. Through medium figurative oil paintings, specifically portraiture, these paintings seek to celebrate queer people of color. These paintings depict a variety of diverse minorities in the LGBTQ+ community from the Cleveland area. The subjects of the paintings share an intimacy with the viewer who looks upon them with these close-up portraits. The subject’s proximity in these works suggests the bond they share with the viewer. These paintings invite viewers to learn more about the subject with how accessible the figures are in composition. It is crucial that we honor these people of color through portraits because their images are often overshadowed in our media by their white counterparts even in the queer community. When we have accurate reflections of who we are as people, then we see each other as the real human beings that we are.


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