Artist Statement

My work investigates how social power operates in our society by depicting narratives from lived life and the everyday through visual, performative, and textual vignettes. I use methods of painting, drawing, sculpture, clothing construction and writing to investigate figure-ground relationships in response to architecture and social setting. Using interpersonal and group conflict as subject matter, the work deploys humor as a tool to reveal how political ideas are deeply and irrationally personal. This work produces critical thinking in both myself and my audience, and the emergent questions challenge how our social ideologies and values manifest.


Originally from Oakland, California, Frances Lee lives and works in Chicago, Illinois. She received an MFA from the University of Chicago in 2018 and served as a Post-MFA Teaching Fellow at the University for the 2018-2019 academic year. During that same year, she was an artist in residence at the Hyde Park Art Center where she participated in Ground Floor 2018, a biennial exhibition of emerging Chicago artists. She has also participated in residencies at ACRE, Vermont Studio Center and the Summer Studio Program at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Additionally, Lee works with the studio, of the artist Michael Rakowitz, reappearing historically looted and recently destroyed relief sculptures that lined the walls of the ancient Assyrian Palace of Nimrud (present day Mosul, Iraq)

Lee also enjoys writing and has recently participated in non-fiction writing workshops developing a collection of vignettes on gender, economics and the use of language.