Trinity University art professors Jon Lee, MFA, and Elizabeth Ward, MFA, have each had works acquired by the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) as part of the museum’s initiative to acquire art by contemporary San Antonio artists. Lee and Ward are among eight local artists whose works mark first entries by the artists to SAMA’s collection; their pieces are now available to view in the museum.
“The group of artists,” including Lee and Ward, “represents an incredible range of conceptual and formal approaches and come from a multitude of backgrounds that have shaped their artistic practices,” says Lana S. Meador, SAMA’s assistant curator of modern and contemporary art. “Their work brings new dimension to SAMA’s collection and allows us to expand and deepen narratives about art across culture, medium, and style.”
Lee’s woodcut, “O1701,” explores the poetic subtleties of color and line, reinventing traditional printmaking processes and materials. Born in Seoul, Lee draws on his native Korea’s rich and long history of printmaking, and his practice focuses on a traditional Japanese woodcut technique called mokuhanga that he honed during residencies at the Mokuhanga Innovation Lab in Japan, where “O1701” was printed.
“In my almost two decades in San Antonio, I have come to know this city as unexpectedly humble despite its bursting diversity of culture. SAMA’s thoughtful collecting helps communities build a sense of identity, celebrating what makes this city unique and helping us build local pride,” Lee says. “While it is important for a museum to show work from across the world and across centuries, it is equally important to represent the people and communities who visit the museum.”
Ward combined watercolor, gesso, silverpoint, pastel, and collage on paper to create “Ghosts of the Old Mississippi: Dismal Swamp/Northern Lights,” one in a series of 15 large-scale drawings based on maps of the ancient courses of the Mississippi River. Reflecting on society’s relationship to the environment, Ward connects the river’s history with the formation of American identity, including the river’s settlement by various cultures, its usage for commerce including the slave trade, and containment by engineering.
“I’m truly honored that my work has been acquired for SAMA’s collection. In addition to the validation that becoming part of the permanent collection confers upon the work, the piece will now be accessible to the community and exist in conversation with other artworks from the past and present,” Ward says. “Trinity faculty representation in SAMA’s collection raises the profile of the University and affirms the value of our faculty artists.”