Helen Lee

Helen Lee

She // Her // Hers, They // Them // Theirs

[ID: An Asian woman with transparent-frame glasses, blue scarf, and light gray shirt sitting for portrait.]

Portrait photo by Kaleb Autman.

Glass Artist
Madison, WI
2024 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by Good Chaos.

Helen Lee is an artist, designer, and educator, who explores language and diasporic identity through the materiality of glass. Lee’s studio practice is informed by her trades as a glassblower and graphic designer, and a penchant for writing. She holds an MFA in Glass from RISD and a BSAD in Architecture from MIT. Lee’s work is in the collections of Minnesota Museum of American Art, the Corning Museum of Glass, and the Toyama City Institute of Glass Art. Recent exhibitions include: Through a Glass Darkly at Delaware Contemporary; Translucency, part of the Tallinn Applied Art Triennial at the Kai Art Center in Estonia; and Momentum | Intersection at the Toledo Museum of Art.

As an educator, Lee’s teaching philosophy centers an expansive and interconnected approach to glass. She conceives of glass as a movement-based practice — an approach informed by the definition of glass not as a material but as a state of matter. Lee has taught at Rhode Island School of Design, California College of Art, Pilchuck Glass School, Haystack Mountain School of Craft, Ox-Bow School of Art, China Academy of Art, Toyama City Institute of Glass Art, and the MIT Glass Lab. She is currently an Associate Professor at University of Wisconsin–Madison.

In addition to her studio practice, Lee’s creative labor is inclusive of organizing, writing, curating, pedagogical research, community collaborations, and projects less easily defined. Lee currently serves as the Director of GEEX, the Glass Education Exchange, within this framework of material scholarship.

1/f, 2018. Glass, steel, motors, 30 × 40 × 12 inches each. Video by Curtis Whitear.
  • Artwork by Helen Lee
    Alphabit, 2018. Glass murrine, low-iron float glass, stainless steel, aluminum, acrylic, LEDs, 36 × 18 × 48 inches. Photo by Levi Mandel.
    [ID: A black-and-white photograph of small glass cubes organized in clear acrylic containers. The small cubes have subtle differences by which they are organized; ranging from completely clear to clear with the addition of black lines.]
  • Artwork by Helen Lee
    Implosive and Incendiary, 2022. Glass, matches, metal, dimensions variable. Photo by Constance Mensh.
    [ID: Glass sculptures suspended in air resemble large black droplets of water and clear orbs filled with matches. The matches are unused and are arranged into a flowering sphere shape.]
Artwork by Helen Lee Artwork by Helen Lee