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Shore Leave

Marta Lee

34 Main Street, Millerton

September 2 – October 31, 2020

Marta Lee Pilgrim, 2020

Marta Lee
Pilgrim, 2020
Transfer and oil on linen
30 x 48 in.

Marta Lee Again, again (mug), 2020

Marta Lee
Again, again (mug), 2020
Acrylagouache and crayon on linen
10 x 8 in.

Marta Lee Do you know how many great paintings have pianos in them?, 2020

Marta Lee
Do you know how many great paintings have pianos in them?, 2020
Acrylic and crayon on linen
24 x 24 in.

Marta Lee Therapy (Fifth Ave), 2020

Marta Lee
Therapy (Fifth Ave), 2020
Acrylic & transfer with crayon on canvas over panel
24 x 24 in.

Marta Lee Age, 2020

Marta Lee
Age, 2020
Acrylic, transfer, and oil on linen
48 x 30 in.

Marta Lee Aloe 5, 2016

Marta Lee
Aloe 5, 2016
Reductive relief print

12 x 9 in.

Marta Lee the tiniest well, 2020

Marta Lee
the tiniest well, 2020
Acrylic and oil pastel on linen
11 x 14 in.

Press Release

Geary is pleased to present its inaugural exhibition at its Millerton outpost, Shore Leave, by Brooklyn-based artist Marta Lee.  Marta Lee’s paintings range from conceptual and formal concerns to more intimate and personal narratives. She examines an elusive feeling of home by using objects and spaces that resonate undeniably: worn-out shoes and patterned tablecloths become vessels for memory and comfort. Lee also incorporates photographic matte-medium transfers into her paintings. These skin-like, nuanced multiples create irregular patterns that frame the image and contrast colorful, painted areas. While she is receptive to each painting’s inner logic, she also utilizes rules, listening to particular songs on repeat or using written notes or diagrams instead of reference photographs. This convergence of abstraction and figuration invites a more fluid interpretation of contemporary domestic space, offering a glimpse of her labyrinthine storytelling.


Shore Leave is a borrowed title from Tom Waits' song on his 1983 album Swordfishtrombones, which spins a tale of a sailor taking his shore leave, both a break from the waves and chaos, and yet a lonely time estranged from his girlfriend and his home. Lee recognizes this album as the beginning of the musician's boundary-breaking career, and she shares in this feeling of experimentation and transitional energy. She thinks of the exhibition as ultimately hopeful: the shore serves as a beacon, a separation between land and sea, and while we have all been on our own shore leave from our previous lives in 2020 and Lee made much of this work during this period, the divide between steady and tumultuous has never felt more precarious, and more powerful. 



Marta Lee (b. Moscow, ID) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her BFA from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin. Lee has participated in Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT), Fire Island Artist Residency (Cherry Grove, NY), a UT Exchange fellowship at the Royal College of Art Sculpture Programme (London, UK), an Artist-in-Residence Fellowship at Anderson Ranch Arts Center (Snowmass Village, CO), and most recently a Guest Residency at Hercules Art Studio Program (TriBeCa, NY). Marta Lee has exhibited nationally and internationally in Chicago, LA, Austin, New York (US), London (UK), and Guangdong (China). She also works collaboratively with Anika Steppe under the moniker Frances Brady. This is her first exhibition with the gallery.


Please note that there will not be a public opening event for this exhibition due to the ongoing pandemic. Geary Millerton's public hours are Friday through Sunday, 12-6pm, and by appointment, and all Social Distancing ordinances are in effect within the gallery as mandated by New York State, including mandatory use of masks. Please email the gallery with further questions.