Stephenson Showcase: Alice Lee’s “Do Art No Matter What”

Stephenson Showcase: Alice Lee’s “Do Art No Matter What”

“I want to share my way of seeing human nature. I hope to lift the spirits of the viewer by showing the charm in our everyday activities.”

Alice Lee had “played around with creativity” during her adult life, but only after she retired did she begin to take art seriously. “I need to escape, so I create.”

Her creative interests come out in larger size oil paintings that are of a cartoon nature, geared towards the celebration of everyday activities. One particular painting, “Miss Cow”, was inspired by a French artist of the 1900’s, Jean Dubuffet, who coined the term “art brut” which translates to “raw art”. The term describes art such as graffiti or naïve art which is made outside the academic tradition of fine art. Alice had hopes to make a lady of her cow and describes her own style as organic. 

“I just paint because I feel like it, then a couple years later, I know what that means. [When creating] I don’t even look for a meaning; it doesn’t matter to me. Later on, I see it and an idea pops into my head and that’s what that painting is about.” Alice prefers to be spontaneous and work with emotion; she’s not a fan of detail. 

While she is a self-taught artist, she has taken classes at the Indianapolis Art Center to learn techniques, but “the things I decide to make are off the top of my head. I have more fun if I do something different.” She has even ventured into pottery and creates truly one-of-a-kind vases. 

“Pottery is about real flowers.” Alice wants people to engage with her art, especially her pottery. “I want the person who is arranging the flowers to just bring in something from the yard – get involved with the pottery piece and make it fun to arrange.” Using wheel thrown and hand molded techniques, Alice can take several smaller vases and put them together in such a way that it echoes abstract art. Depending on the vase, she adds special inserts to help make the bouquet even more unique. To keep her connection with spontaneity she randomly marks the clay, stretches it, then throws it, letting it land freely on her work surface. The result is a truly unreproducible organic design that she applies to her vase. “My pottery is never finished until someone unites it with an object from nature.”

See the full exhibit “Do Art No Matter What”, in the Stephenson House Wednesday-Friday 12-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Meet Alice during Noblesville Creates’ January First Friday from 6-9 p.m. in the Stephenson House on Noblesville Creates campus.  

Ailithir McGill

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