"Through mixed media paintings, I explore the space between states of being,cultures, histories, identities, representation and abstraction as a result of contemporary life. Reconstructing the “mashup” and intersections of Chinese and Western cultures on a flat picture plane, I mix up different pictures from diverse sources with various drawing and painting media. Re-invented and hybrid identities result from these combinations. As an equal opportunist appropriator, I borrow both from the paintings of Audubon and the Song Dynasty, mix acupuncture charts with botanical diagrams. I merge oil, ink and crayon on silk and wood. The pictures I lift are scientific, historical and medical images from textiles, botanical and ornithological illustrations, Google images, discarded cardboard box packaging,printed books and advertising. A wide variety of materials are used such as encaustic, china marker, oil pastels, oil paint, chalk pastels, gouache, and pencil. On the surface of this abstract environment, the meeting of materials and images are both cohesive and uncomfortable much like the hyphenated identity I represent."

JJ Lee (b. 1969, Halifax) received her BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1992. After residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Lee moved to Vancouver and initiated Lotusland: an Asian-Canadian artists collective. Lee has exhibited extensively in both public institutions such as the Vancouver Art Gallery and artist-run centres across the country. In 1999, Lee received an MFA from York University, Toronto. She is the recipient of several awards (including Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council, RBC New Canadian Painting Competition and the Asian Canadian Artists Fund for Visual Arts). Her work is in public (RBC, York University, Canada Council Art Bank) and private collections in Canada and the USA. She is represented in the Magenta Foundation’s Carte Blanche: Painting, a survey of contemporary Canadian painters. She lives in Toronto with her husband and teenager and is an Associate Professor, Contemporary Issues of Representation at OCAD University.


Education And Residencies

Master of Fine Arts, Painting, York University,Toronto, ON   1999

Artist-In-Residence, Banff Centre for the Arts  Fall 1994, Winter 1995

Artist-In-Residence, Vancouver Art Gallery Oct-Dec1996

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major: Painting, Minor: ArtHistory.  NSCAD Halifax, NS  1992          

Selected Solo And Two Person Exhibitions


  • (dis)Oriental: The New Model Minority, University of Arts London, England.
  • Combo #1, Redeemer University Art Gallery, Hamilton, ON (solo)
  • Reproduction,Earl Selkirk Gallery, Toronto ON (solo)
  • ReOriented, Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, Canning, Nova Scotia (solo)
  • Inventories, Capacity 3 Gallery, Guelph, ON (solo)

2015         Chinoiserie, loop Gallery, Toronto ON

2013          Sign Languages, (with Mei Lee Ogden), loopGallery, Toronto, ON

2011           Dreamin the Flower, Index G, Toronto, ON

                  TheWhite Tortoise of Ch’u, loop Gallery, Toronto, ON

2010          Window,Howard Park Institute, Toronto, ON

2008         Migration,loop Gallery, Toronto, ON

2007         Trace,loop Gallery, Toronto ON

2006         Fabrication,Elora Centre for the Arts, Elora, ON

                   NewPaintings, loop Gallery, Toronto, ON

2005          Still Life with Tangents (traveling): Lennox Contemporary Toronto and Gallery96, Stratford ON

2000-2004   Angell Gallery, Toronto, ON

2001          Naturalia,A-Space Gallery, Toronto

2002         Nectar,O’Doumas Gallery, Guelph, ON

1999          fruition,I-Land Gallery, Toronto, ON

1997          dissection,Artspeak Gallery, Vancouver, BC

                  Mosaic, Pengah Gallery, Vancouver

1996          Passage,Pitt Gallery, Vancouver, BC

                  Piecing, Neutral Ground Gallery, Regina

1994          Paintings,The Other Gallery, Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff, AB

1992          Surface Value, Anna Leonowens ArtGallery, Halifax, NS

Selected Group Exhibitions

2017         HurryUp and Wait, juried group exhibition, Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia

                  Painting 2017, Paintings By ContemporaryCanadian Artists (Jurors: P. Edmonds. C. Griffin) 

                  Back to the Drawing BoardLoop Gallery with Amy Swartz and Natalie Waldburger  

                 Experiencing Perspectives, juried group exhibition, Mercedes Benz, Toronto ON     

2015           FirstImpressions, The Great Hall, OCADU, Toronto ON

                   The Drawing Show, J.B. Aird Gallery, Toronto, ON

2013           OIL/Change, Central ArtGarage, Ottawa, ON

                   Teaching Artists, CWSE HallwayGallery, OISE, University of Toronto

2012           Spotlight on 40 years: Artworks from theCanada Council Art Bank. Represented 2005, Canada Council ArtBank, Ottawa, ON

                   CollectiveVision, Loop Gallery, Toronto ON

                   FirstImpressions, The Great Hall, OCADU, Toronto, ON

                   AAFNY, invited guest artist by BluntCollective, NYC

2011            Charlotte Street Art Centre(Invitational), Fredericton, NB

                   Elora Centre for the Arts (Invitational),Elora,  ON

2010           Invited Artist of Blunt Collective, Affordable Art Fair, New York, NY

2009          ExperiencingPerspectives 2009-2010, Daimler Financial Services, Mississauga (catalogue)

2008          TheArtist Project Toronto, The Liberty Grand, Toronto ON

2007           Artsin the Workplace, Investor’s Group/Women’s Art Resource Centre

                        Curated byWilliam Huffman (with A. Bolley, elle flanders, J. Nicol, E. Stoddart, Y.Singer and Mary Wong)

2005          The Suitcase Show, York Quay Gallery,Harbourfront Centre, TO(w/J. Abrams, J. Buyers…)

2003          Alchemy and Mysticism,Instant Coffee Urban Disco Trailer, Toronto, ON

                   art@suite 500, TD Centre, York University Shulich School ofBusiness, Toronto, ON

2002          NewCanadian Painting, RBC Painting Competition, Ottawa City Hall Art Gallery,ON

2001           From the Eastern Edge, I-LandGallery, Toronto w/ Robert Bean, Marlene Creates, others

2000          Artand Healing, James B. Aird Gallery, Toronto, ON

                   Fresh Paint, MEG Gallery, Toronto. ON Curated by the ZenMix 2000 Collective

1999           ARTBOX,York University Shulich School of Business, Toronto, ON

1998          China Turns, Ontario Gallery of Chinese Art, Toronto,ON

1997          Tracing Cultures IV:Cultural Difference and Migration, Burnaby ArtGallery, BC (catalogue)

                  Au nom du la terre, Language Plus, Alma, Quebec

1996          topographies:aspects in recent BC art, Vancouver Art Gallery (catalogue)

1995          Currents:an exhibition of contemporary art, L’Atelier, Vancouver, BC (catalogue)

1994           Inthe Absence, three-person exhibition, St. Mary’s University Art Gallery,Halifax NS

1992          START:Painters of Promise, Studio 21 Fine Art Gallery, Halifax NS

                  Contemporary Artists in Nova Scotia (cat.), Mt St. Vincent University Art Gallery, Bedford

 1991         The Lucky Eggroll Show, OO Gallery,Halifax, NS


Dudin,Tali. Artsync TV Interview, 2011. Aired 04 February 2011

Vaughan,RM. The Globe and Mail. “What’s hot? Loads of colour.” Friday, Jan. 21, 2011

Vaughan,RM. Toronto Magazine, National Post, June 4, 2005

Farguharson, Catherine. “Crowded Crawl”, NOW Magazine  Sept 16-22, 2004

Kwan, Karen. “PursueYour Passion.” pg. 49 Jasmine Magazine, Autumn 2004

Kelly, Dierdre. “CoverUp”, Elle Canada pg.44 December 2003

Couto,M. “Fruits of Passion”, green banana Summer2003 pp. 29-30

McKenzie, M.“Succulent,” Lola 15 Mar 2003 :lolamagazine.com/L15_shotguns_5.html#lee

Vaughan, RM.”PrettyYoung Things,” The Globe and Mail Visual Arts Supplement  12/09/02

Pastor, Tamara. Vernissaage (review), World of Art,Issue 4, Vol 2, 2002, pg 90

Von Bark, E. “JJLee: Ripe at Angell Gallery”, Lola 11, Winter 2001/2, pg. 85

Chinese Newsline, CFMT Television  Toronto, August 13, 2000

Dault, Gary M. “JJLee at Angell Gallery” Gallery Going, Globe and Mail 11/11/00

Hanna, Dierdre. “Painted Word”. NOW Magazine,08/10/00

Dault, Gary M. “Fresh Paint: Meg Gallery” GalleryGoing  Globe & Mail 8/12/00

‘Asian Artistsshow in Fresh Paint’  Ming Pao Press,Toronto, 8/ 5/00

 “Piecing”, Ming Pao Press,Vancouver BC 3/ 5/97

Timeline Magazine, Fairchild Television,Vancouver, BC 1997

Mastai, Judith. “Topographies: Aspects of Recent BCArt.” C magazine Issue #52 pg. 26 Feb-Apr 1997

Foo, Kuan. “Passage”,FUSE Magazine, Fall 1996

Barnard, Elissa. “YoungArtists Share Insights”, The Mail Star, Halifax, 05/13/94

Mac, Kathy. ”ContemporaryArtists in Nova Scotia”, Visual Arts Nova Scotia  9/92

Maritime Magazine, CBC Radio, November 1992

Barnard,E. “IdentityCommon Theme in Lucky Eggroll Show” The Mail Star, Hfx  8/29/91


ArtSync, ArtSync: The Book 2010-2011, 2011

RBC Canadian Painting Competition: Ten Years.  RBC/CanadianArt, 2008

Carte Blanche II: Painting. Magenta Publishers, 2008

Slate, front cover reproduction February-March 2001

Language Arts, front cover colour reproduction, March 2000

Featured Artist’s pages, MIX magazine, May 1998

Tracing Cultures IV: Cultural Difference and Migration, Burnaby Art Gallery, 1997

Topographies: Aspects of Recent BC Art, Douglas&McIntyre/Vancouver Art Gallery, 1996

Event: Douglas College Review, one year of front cover reproductions, 1995     

Currents: an exhibition of contemporary art, L’Atelier, Vancouver, BC 1995


Art Bank ofNova Scotia

Canada Council Art Bank

RBC Investments

York University

privatecollections-Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, California


2012           Nominated for Non-Tenured FacultyTeaching award, OCAD University

2010           Canada Council Project Grant, VisualArts

2005          Ontario Arts Council ExhibitionsAssistance Grant

2004          Visual Arts Winner: Asian-Canadian Visual Arts Fund (NorthAmerican Association of Asian Professionals

                   York UniversityPurchase Award            

2002          RBC Investments NewCanadian Painting Competition: Central Canada Winner

2002          Canada Council Mid-Career ProjectGrant

2000          Ontario Arts Council Mid-Career ArtistProject Grant

                   Ontario Arts Council Exhibitions Assistance

1999           Ontario Arts Council Emerging ArtistProject Grant

1998           Susan Tannenbaum Scholarship (YorkUniversity)

1997           BC Arts Council Arts Scholarship

                   York University Entrance Scholarship                 

1996           BC Arts Council Project Grant

                   Canada Council Travel Grant

                   Canada Council Short Term Grant

1995,1994  Banff Centre for the Arts Financial Award                                             

1991            NSCAD: Effie May Ross & EndowmentFund Scholarships

                   Nova Scotia Talent Trust (Government of Nova Scotia)

1989          Centennial Scholarship, NSCAD

1987           Centennial Foundation Scholarship,NSCAD                        

Public Presentations/Artist’s Talks

Art for All CanadaConferences, Invited Guest Speaker, Metro Hall, Toronto, March 2013

York University, TheBody: Liminal to Virtual, Fine Arts, March 2011

Loop Gallery, TheWhite Tortoise of Ch’u (readings and Q+A), 2010

Canadian Art GalleryHop, “Trace”, Loop Gallery, September 2007

York University, TheBody and Technology, Fine Arts, January 2007

Elora Centre for theArts, February 2006

University of Guelph,Women and Art, Fine Arts Program, Guelph, ON March 2001

Ohio StateUniversity, Graduate Program, Columbus, Ohio. February 2000

I-Land Gallery,Toronto. Fruition. April 1999

Nova Scotia Collegeof Art and Design, Visiting Artist Lecture, Halifax June 1997

Artspeak Gallery, Vancouver.dissection .October 1997           

Vancouver ArtGallery, topographies: aspects of recentBC art.  Oct 1996

NeutralGround/MacKenzie Art Gallery: Artists-In-The-School.Regina, Piecing, Nov. 1996

Emily Carr Instituteof Art and Design, Vancouver, BC. Intro Painting, March 1996

Pitt Gallery,Vancouver: Passage. February 1996

Committee and Administration Experience

Director, First Year and Summer Studies, Faculty of Art, OCAD University, 2013 to present

Curriculum Leader, DRPT1C01 IntroPainting. OCAD University. 2011-2013

OCAD University Committees: Art and Social Change Minor, 2011 to current

First Year Streaming CurriculumDevelopment,  2011 to current

Cross-Disciplinary Thesis, 2011 to2012

Writing andESL Committee,,2008

Juror: Painting, Toronto Outdoor Art Show, Toronto, ON 2009

Member, Loop Gallery Collective, Head, Art Fair Committee, Toronto, ON 2005 topresent

Mid-Career and Senior Jury Member, Toronto Arts Council, Toronto, ON 2007

Arts Jury Member Ottawa, Canada Council, Ottawa, ON Nov. 1997,1999, 2004

Board of Directors, A Space Gallery, Toronto, ON 2003-2004

Juror, Painting Applications, Toronto Outdoor Art Show, Toronto, ON 2004

Panel Member:Painting on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Power Plant Gallery, Toronto, ON 2001 

Research Assistant, Education Department, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON Summer 1998

Rights + Reproductions Officer: Photo/Imaging Dept, Vancouver Art Gallery 1995-1997           

Vancouver Facilitating Committee, Asian Heritage Month   1996-1997

Board Member, OR Gallery, Vancouver, BC 1996-1997

Lotusland: Chinese-Canadian artists, writers + performersCollective, Vancouver, BC 1995-1997         

Exhibitions Assistant to the Curator, Technical University of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS1991        



         AssistantProfessor (First Year/DRPT), 2011 to present

         SessionalLecturer, 1999-2011

UNIVERSITYOF TORONTO (Scarborough Campus): Painting 1+2, 2002-2007

UNIVERSITYof WESTERN ONTARIO, London, ON Drawing and Painting, Spring 2004

GEORGIANCOLLEGE, Barrie, ON Fundamentals of Design, Fall  1999

ART GALLERY OFONTARIO, Toronto, ON: Gallery School, Education Department: Adult

YORKUNIVERSITY, Toronto, ON (T.A.) Introductory painting  1997-1999

NOVASCOTIA COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN, Halifax, NS. Cont. Ed. Drawing for Teens  1992-1994

Using Format