Lee Malerich

September 2-October 14, 2022

Lee is a Midwesterner, born in Decatur, Illinois, who came south in the 1980s to take a job at Columbia College in Columbia, SC. She also taught at Coker College in Hartsville, SC and Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College in Orangeburg, SC.

Shortly after arriving in South Carolina, she won her first South Carolina Arts Commission  Fellowship in the area of Crafts. It was an easy introduction to the art community in the state and her studio work flourished. Working in narrative textiles, she documented her family and its growth and her battle with colon cancer. As far as subject matter, women's response to their lives was of the most interest. The work was like a visual discussion board.

Lee moved a 1939-built farmhouse in 2004 and renovating it required most of her  time and creativity. At the end of this period, she emerged with an interest in working with wooden windows, tongue and groove, and sanding in patterns. It took more than six years to retrain for the new medium. It was not until she was given a warehouse full of damaged chairs that the work began to evolve. The work now suggests ways of being and ways to look at the world.

The putting aside of one medium and taking up another was an exceedingly brutal period. Skills and techniques had to be learned and experience acquired. Starting over meant producing less skilled work. Student work, done by an experienced professional; that was the most unnerving aspect of this transformation. Drive counts more in this case than talent.

Slowly the work with wood started to mature and began to express feelings as readily as the former visual discussions. With the addition of colored pencil to the sculpture, the connection with the former textiles is complete.


Brief Statement about the Work

I work in layers, pierced by holes, enhanced by colors. The pieces are different on all sides, sometimes surprisingly. We are being patched up after experience. It is tough these days. My figures stand tall and vulnerable, legs braced for more social and physical insult.