Lee Nowell-Wilson Art
Lee Nowell-Wilson is currently living and working in Baltimore, MD. She earned her BFA in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2011 and has participated in artist residencies with Stay Home Gallery in Paris, TN, Creative Paradox in Annapolis, MD, and the Street Art School in Lyon, France. Her work has exhibited nationally and internationally, most notably in New York City and Scotland. Nowell-Wilson has also completed urban art pieces in Norway, France, Northern Ireland, and Chile. In 2019, she founded MILKED, an arts publication that features visual art, photography, and creative writing by female artists investigating the maternal figure and form. In 2020, her own work featured in Stay Home Gallery’s first publication and “Home-works”, a printed zine by Spilt Milk Gallery about artist-mothers in Quarantine.
Lee Nowell-Wilson is a figurative artist who builds autobiographical narratives that investigate the emotional and ambivalent undertones within birth, domestic labor, and human relationship. Through using the female body and maternal subject, Nowell-Wilson illuminates a detail of life that is extremely personal, yet universal. She predominantly executes this in an ironic way by using mundane objects (blankets, dishes, pillows, toys) to express complex human tendencies and emotions. Those ordinary household items create forms that become a secondary subject in-and-of-themselves and interact with Nowell-Wilson’s figures on an interpersonal level. A tight turtleneck becomes a close partner in conversation. The womb of blankets upon one’s head becomes the hand that steals identity, while simultaneously creating a self-birthing place and points to a labor worth crowning.
Nowell-Wilson’s work investigates that tipping point — the line where the maternalistic state of being tips from something sensitive to aggressive, from a tearing tension to close connection — and she invites her viewer to witness that vulnerable walk. While combining high realism, abstract marks, and empty contours, Nowell-Wilson speaks metaphorically to elements of weight, physicality, mental health, and veneration — all in the effort to humorously cry about the growing pains of caregiving while also examining it as something holy; questioning, as well, maternal subjectivity.