Ke-Sook Lee


Ke-Sook Lee

Artist statement


I have been making hand-embroidered thread drawings, incorporating used fiber materials that embrace human experience and history. These could be found in an antique store, second-hand store, garage sale, or estate sale. Covid-19 kept us away from our way of life to keep social distance. Our activity has been interrupted; I could no longer make a trip searching for materials where I used to go.

While I was organizing my studio, I found discarded or remnant materials from past work, which have worn marks of struggles from art creation processes in the past. By incorporating these marks and responding to the world’s pandemic time of fears, uncertainty, and hope of growth beyond our potential, these mixed-media works were born.  

The remnant materials refresh my memory of domestic experience, the age-old yearning for challenges and growth as an individual, which are compared to the plants. Hope of being connected with the world, to conform as part of the world. These concerns have come back again in this troubled time with limited freedom.


Ke-Sook Lee, born 1941, Seoul, South Korea; lives and works in Berkeley, California

Long-day, Long-night, 2020,
hand-embroidered thread, rice paper, mixed media


Ke-Sook Lee, born 1941, Seoul, South Korea; lives and works in Berkeley, California

Blue Sky #2, 2020,
hand-embroidered thread, rice paper, mixed media


Ke-Sook Lee, born 1941, Seoul, South Korea; lives and works in Berkeley, California

Blue Sky #3, 2020,
hand-embroidered thread, rice paper, mixed media


Ke-Sook Lee, born 1941, Seoul, South Korea; lives and works in Berkeley, California

Seedpods, 2020,
hand-embroidered thread, mixed media


Ke-Sook Lee, born 1941, Seoul, South Korea; lives and works in Berkeley, California

Blue Sky #4, 2020,
hand-embroidered thread, rice paper, mixed media


Artist bio


Ke-Sook Lee currently lives and works in Berkeley, California. After receiving her BFA in applied art from Seoul National University in 1963, Lee and her husband immigrated to the United States. In 1982, she received a second BFA in painting from the Kansas City Art Institute. Lee’s art mirrors her life. She draws inspiration from the duality of having roots in two countries, and of practicing as a professional artist while relishing the role of mother, homemaker, and gardener. In 2014, the Spencer Museum commissioned her to create the installation Ode to Sprouts II that was part of the exhibition Holding Pattern, which also featured her installation Green Hammock from the Museum's collection.