Matthew Lee Cherrys In Bloom36x48
Matthew Lee, Cherry Trees in Bloom, May 2020; Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches; Courtesy of the artist

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Connecting with Nature: Plein-air Paintings by Matthew Lee

Jan 9, 2022 - Mar 27, 2022

Matthew Lee is perhaps one of the most dedicated practitioners of plein-air painting working in Memphis today. Born and raised in Paris to American parents, he grew up with an appreciation for art and architecture that still guides his work today. Lee returned to the United States for college, and after working as an architect for more than twenty years, in 2014, he forged a new life for himself as a full-time painter. Since then, he has sought out some of the most beautiful locations in the American South as inspiration for his paintings, which he faithfully and carefully records on location, or en plein air.

Connecting with Nature is a collection of Lee’s most recent paintings, largely completed during the pandemic when the outdoors became even more of a sanctuary for the artist than perhaps ever before. His paintings, whether spontaneous oil sketches or larger compositions, are in many ways a by-product of his experiences witnessing the beauty of nature, whether found near a waterfall in western Arkansas or among the quiet seventeen acres of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens. Because he takes the time to immerse himself in the landscape, Lee’s paintings reveal a close awareness of the subtleties of light, shadow, form, and texture that exist in the Southern environment, and a true reverence for the experience of connecting with a greater force through nature.