Lee M. Hale, who works in both the fine and decorative arts, studied sculpture at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y., graduating in 1986. Born and raised in Northeastern Connecticut, she credits her rural upbringing for her abiding interest in and love for natural forms. She also cites her mother, a painter and sculptor, as a major inspiration. “It was the creative environment my mother provided at home that inspired me early on to become an artist.”
Hale doesn’t see any one overarching theme to her work; she’s very happy, in fact, embracing its variety and range. “I view my work almost journalistically, as a kind of diary,” she says. “It’s my way of recording my responses to things that excite me, whether they’re personal experiences or elements in nature. I do the work as the ideas arise and let each piece steer me in whatever direction it wants.” As varied as the results of that process can be, a keen appreciation of form, color, and texture can be seen in all her work, whether the medium is a precious metal or such seemingly prosaic materials as pencils and cork.
Hale’s sculpture has been exhibited at galleries throughout the United States, including P.S. 122 Gallery in New York City, the Wetsman Collection in Birmingham, Michigan, Nine Gallery in Portland, Oregon, and Ibu Gallery in Paris. Her decorative work has been featured in The New York Times, W, Harper’s Bazaar, Paper Magazine, and Bloom. She lives and works in Portland, Oregon.
“I am attracted to small things, natural or man-made, that are often considered insignificant, disposable, or threatening. The beauty of a thorn may not be obvious, but once it is removed from its natural context, we are forced to acknowledge its graceful shape. A shard of soap is easily dismissed as part of the detritus of everyday life, but once it is transformed into a silver pin, we cannot help but appreciate its sensuous form, one that has been sculpted by water, time,and touch. My aim here, as in most of my work, is to transform something that might be overlooked or discarded into something that provides joy.”
—Lee M. Hale