“I was incubated in a plane. When I landed, I was the same but somehow different. I was born for the second time. I became American. I became a citizen of the new country but an un-citizen of the old. But I’m still an immigrant.”
Naturalized, an exhibition of new work by Carol Joo Lee opens at Greenpoint Hill on Friday, April 20th in conjunction with Greenpoint Gallery Night.
Lee explores the spaces, labels and identities that immigrants embody as they transform from the state of natural to naturalized via the crossing of borders. The act of migration may be as old as humanity itself, but the language and emotions surrounding it feel raw like a new cut on the skin. In a world that doles out different rights, labels, and identities to those who move and to those who stay, Lee attempts to understand the spaces and characters—performative and conditional—that define and confine us as citizens and immigrants, and the liminality of belonging to neither of these categories.
Lees’ work creates a personal iconography through unexpected, brightly-hued sculptural compositions incorporating symbols from her journey and immigrant communities.
Carol Joo Lee is a New York-based artist. Her work is an on-going endeavor in combining her love of the tension in ceramic between its endless possibilities for manipulation and transformation, and the stubborn limitation with her interest in how citizens and immigrants are defined and confined by the social and legal structures.
She received BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and an MFA from Geneva University of Art and Design. She’s currently working on her second masters in migration studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.