In partnership with ACRE, The University of Illinois Springfield Visual Arts Gallery is pleased to present “A tax on a bag and other landscapes,” a solo exhibition presenting new paintings and sculpture works by Chicago-based artist Frances Lee.

A series of arrangements and compressions of brown paper bags populate the gallery’s floor. In both singularity and accumulation, Lee investigates the material weight, volume, surface area, and structure of these ubiquitous objects to look at how we understand abstract numerical relationships like quantity. Meanwhile, drawing on the artist’s interest in painting as a method of symbolic and diagrammatic thought, the painted compositions in the show use contrasting color relationships and investigations of points of view to suspend moral tensions observed in the artist’s everyday encounters. Through imagery like trash thrown out the window of a car, a monument’s point of view, and a named donation for a private healthcare clinic, the paintings work with the paper objects to create visual vignettes that confront the viewer with the question of how politics is imaged.

Frances Lee

A keen observer of the visual world and social dynamics, Frances Lee uses the methods of painting, sculpture, and writing to create diagrammatic images that investigate the material and symbolic relationships between the depicted forms of everyday encounters. Originally from Oakland, CA, Lee lives and works in Chicago, IL. She received a BA from Oberlin College and an MFA from the University of Chicago. Lee is currently a lecturer at the University of Chicago, teaching for the Department of Visual Arts at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. In 2018 her work was selected for Ground Floor, a biennial exhibition of emerging Chicago artists at the Hyde Park Art Center. She has also participated in several residencies and programs, including the Center Program at HPAC, ACRE, and the Vermont Studio Center.


Opening Reception:

One University Plaza
Health and Science Building, room 201 (HSB 201)
Springfield , IL 62703

Wheelchair Accessible

In conjunction with this exhibit, the UIS Visual Arts Gallery will host a remote artist talk presented by Frances Lee at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9. This event is open to the public. Participants can join via Zoom.