AP Art of the Week

Spotlight on Artist Lynne Lee

The Elective’s digital art museum this week features a painting made by Lynne Lee from Shanghai High School International Division in Shanghai, China​.

Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. Each week we highlight a work or series created in one of the AP Arts concentrationsAP 2-D Art and Design, 3-D Art and Design, and AP Drawing (the AP Program also offers Art History and Music Theory)—as well as a statement from the artist (and, occasionally, their teacher).

From the first cave paintings to contemporary breakthroughs in virtually reality, art, in all its forms, has been a crucial way for people to process, make sense of, comment on, and grapple with the world around them. After more than a year of life in a pandemic, AP Art students have risen to the challenge of processing and making sense of the challenges—and opportunities—that have come from this perilous time. The work they submitted in their final portfolios is explicitly of the moment. It’s often challenging and provocative, but always insightful, inspiring, and expansive.

This week we feature a painting made by Lynne Lee from Shanghai High School International Division in Shanghai, China​.

hand holding a multi-faceted object with a fish inside, while fish swim above the hand, all against a background of a cracked desert strewn with fish bones

Here’s Lynne’s statement on the work:

“The title of this piece is ‘Heaven and Hell.’ Through my studies of environmental science, I have become increasingly aware of the harm that human activities have inflicted on marine lives. A reoccurring element in my series is contrast, and this artwork was no exception. A sharp juxtaposition is made between the lifeless and perished fish on the ground and the vibrant dancing fish in the sky. This contrast symbolizes the concept of heaven and hell—hell being the dry and inanimate reality these marine lives face, and heaven portraying an alternate world where there is no such suffering. The hand, in the center holding a fish, represents my wish to free them from damage and pollution. I wasn’t afraid to use bold and vibrant colors to portray the fish in ‘heaven.’ I saw it unfitting at first, thinking the colors would stand out too much, but it turned out to perfectly accentuate the contrast.”

And here are a few other works from Lynne’s portfolio:

illustration of a hand holding a plastic bag full of fish of differing colors against a marine scene background

It might look like a portrayal of the aspiration to protect marine life, but the irony lies in the plastic bag: these fish are being “protected” by what has caused them harm in the first place.

illustration of three hands, one blue, one pink, and one green, controlling faceless marionettes in different cultural attire while a group of unclothed marionettes watch in the background

The main mannequins were painted first and the rest were depicted in a darker shade to convey depth.

illustration of different kinds of foods in a floating jumble

Growing up eating food of varying cultures, it feels like a gift able to experience diverse flavor. Placement of the gift box was done first to guide the position and direction of the remaining food.

illustration of a hand opening a can labeled fresh as fish spill out against a background of fish bones in a net

I believe by continuing the damage we do to the ocean, the consequences will eventually fall on us. I drew the hand and the can to establish the focal point, and drew the skeletons on the surrounding.

illustration of a hand holding a compact against a background of different Japanese masks

Under a different environment, I show a different side of my cultural identity like putting on a mask. Large-scaled masks were painted to set the base, and the smaller ones were added to fill the space.

Student statements are lightly edited for length and clarity.