Rhode Island native, Lee Bontecou, developed a world renowned style at an early age, but did not begin to appreciate art and make her most notable works until after studying in college. While living in Rome for a year on an art scholarship, she began to experiment and work more closely with the color black, intrigued by the depth and richness of darkness. She played with natural materials and oxygen to create a unique texture for sculptures. While in Italy she began utilizing copper, wire, steel, and bronze to create animals with a machinelike aesthetic, taking interest in birds specifically. Through the use of unconventional textures and natural materials she has artisically developed her own language and created forms and sculptures found around the world, including New York’s own MoMA. Certain works can be defined as realism with imaginary and futuristic elements, and can be classified as both sculptures and paintings.
After having her daughter, Lee’s works transcended from a darker, more structured and machine influenced to softer works paralleling and questioning the beauty of life. It is apparent that Lee’s appreciation of machinery as well as a passion for World War II, fought during her childhood, dramatically influenced her earlier works. We love the storyline of her creativity and following her ever-changing point as she progresses as an artist and an individual.