“I started making these in Photoshop, but found that it was limiting. And it was really stressing me out” Lee recalls about making her latest works which she claims have taken her somewhat off of the Decathlon path and onto something new. “I realized that working on stuff in Photoshop that I get really frustrated making these beautiful things in Photoshop and then can’t recreate them outside of the computer.

I get ticked off when I can’t recreate them just like that.” Lee discussed how the challenge for her has been recreating works she’s easy able to create with a software program using tools like pencils and knives. But challenging herself to do so, she says, is “greatly rewarding”. In person, the works do bear the mark of the human hand, with slight imperfections and such. But in a way, that’s what makes them most interesting — they take forms that are made with technology and recreates it with real tools.

But once she’s working in the “real world”, the works take on a life of their own, Lee says.

While Lee has veered somewhat off the path of the various Decathlon areas of concentration, she says that pursuing these somewhat unrelated works have given her a better perspective on how to approach some of the remaining obstacles such as installation and sound art.

Lee says that she plans to dive into some of these more daunting areas before my next visit, and I don’t want to give too much away about her plans for her sound art except to say that it will require more from the viewer than just passively listening. I’m eager to see how it comes out!




A Girl’s Best Friend…

September 28, 2011

Upon my last visit to Lee’s studio, the first work I came across was this…

Her collage piece (still n progress at time of this image) is cut into the shape of diamonds (a central focal point of Lee’s work as I showed in the last post about her work). Additionally, all the images in the diamond shape are clipped from magazine ads for diamonds. It’s a work that explores “how you’re supposed to feel when given a diamond”. And it certainly captures that emotion that advertisers are trying to impress upon their audience. Lee also intentionally used small bits of text to help illustrate this.


Lee’s first painting (pictured above) in it’s nearly finished form, consisting of paint and cut-out layers of tape to create a sort of ‘paint-by-numbers’ feel — apologies if my orientation is off with this photograph! I particularly liked this piece and how it comes from a place of examining the concept of vacation. In particular, it explores what it means to escape from ones life and retreat to a vacation home. And while it’s based on imagery of holiday and vacation homes, it’s an abstracted interpretation — one that, it seems, seeks to reproduce the feeling of the place rather than simply an image of, say, a beach house or vacation condominium.

Finding the hidden ramp…

August 18, 2011

I recently visited Lee Gainer’s studio in the Arlington Arts Center and, aside from being impressed with the progress of her work, was struck by her ability to talk about it and even her candor in assessing what she thinks is working and what isn’t. We started by looking at a series of tracing’s Lee has been working on, taking different images and, using tracing paper, outlining countours of them to create an image that is abstract and can be interpreted differently depending on the viewer. From a ballerina or an angel or Lee’s favorite “a Mad Men, 50’s era hair-doo”, these works are left to the user to imbue meaning or symbolizym, similar to a Rorschach image, as Lee pointed out. Some of my favorite’s from this series are below.




Below is taken from a series that Lee was refreshingly honest about feeling they did not achieve what she wanted them to and didn’t want to pursue them further. The images (collages that combined video screenshots and found images) were inspired by the “white flight phenomeon of the 1960’s and it made me think of Southern culture, which I grew up in, and particularly the Dukes of Hazard…and how in each episode of the show, the good guys would climb in their cars and would always find some sort of ramp and get away. I used that as a sort of metaphor for these white families who would find the ramp whereas the minority familes never did. The more I’ve thought about this series the more it has stuck with me. At the time I don’t think the idea had fully settled with me but, now that it has, I see these works as some of my favorites of what she’s working on. Lee said she’d worked on some of a larger scale but that they didn’t communicate quite as well — I would personally love to see these in a much larger size and wonder if the image of cars leaping from “found” ramps would, in fact, have more of an impact on a larger scale.









File under ‘Ideas in their embyronic form’: Lee brought out a bag of coal that she’d collected. She wasn’t sure exactly how she would use it other than that she knew she wanted to draw with it. “Coal is such an interesting material…extremely raw and unprocessed. You’d think it would crumble in your hands but it has integrity to it’s make-up…it’s solid.” I’m eager to see where she goes with this material next time I visit —




Confusion in New York

May 16, 2008

So last night was Day Three of our tour with Snowden & Colour Revolt and, if I’m counting correctly, our 3,487th show at Mercury Lounge in New York. And in all of our times playing the venue, we’ve had a lot of different types of folks turn out. But never before have we had the fire marshall stop by for a visit. The club was filled to capacity but was not over sold, which frustrated many of you who waited outside with pre-purchased tickets. From what I’ve been told, the club has been slapped with a huge fine….not exactly sure for what. But hopefully most of you were able to make it inside the room for Snowden. They were pretty amazing.

For those of you who may have missed Colour Revolt because of this scuffle, which I imagine might be the case, we urge you to consider making the trip out to Hoboken, NJ tonight to see this exact same bill at Maxwell’s, this time without being shut out of the club for an hour (fingers crossed.) We’re glad that so so many of you turned out for the show–we hope that everyone who waited to get in got in. If not, come tonight and we’ll give you a hug.

Next Thursday, April 24th, at 8:00 we’ll be opening up for Foals at Bowery Ballroom in New York (6 Delancy St.) There’s one more special guest, as well, but we can’t say who it is. For more info or to purchase tickets, go to http://www.boweryballroom.com

We’re in Pittsburg right now and will be playing Cleveland tomorrow….

First off, thank you to all the parents who brought their kids out to the Living Room on Sunday. (See the photo below).That was certainly one of the most unusual and amazing shows we’ve played. We particularly enjoyed the Q&A session (particularly those questions on snow.  Thank you, as well, to the kind folks at University of the South for having us down in Sewannee. We had a total blast.

The Deli Magazine has listed us as one of the Top 20 Bands of 2007. For  those of you that don’t live in NY, the Deli is a fantastic music magazine that’s available for free pretty much everywhere in lower Manhattan. (However, we’re still unable to get one of those little chilli peppers next to our name!)

And lastly, we recorded 3 songs for a show on FOX called Fearless Television yesterday afternoon. Not sure when it will air yet, but we’ll keep you posted.

We’ll be playing tonight in Philly at the Khyber and then a bunch of places this next week in the midwest, with I believe, the Dodos and Beach House at one stop. Check out Myspace page for the exact dates and locations.

Hays at Living Room

We know this is kind of last minute, but this Sunday we’ll be playing with Rogue Wave at The Living Room in New York City. It’s a group called Kidrockers with Time Out Kids that puts on this all ages show…past performers have included The Hold Steady, Reggie Watts and our chums with Langhorne Slim. It’s all ages/family friendly but they want to make very clear that this is not just for kids. So go out to brunch, get smashed on mimosas and wander over to the Living Room at 1:00.
Check out their website for more info: http://www.kidrockersusa.com/
Here’s the website for the Living Room: http://www.livingroomnyc.com

And don’t forget, we’ll be in Tennessee tomorrow at the University of the South, so tell all your southern friends to come out!