Narrative Images: Jim Lee & Blue Moon Press

On display are 20 artists’ books and broadsides by UW-Madison alumnus Jim Lee, a printmaker, draughtsman, and book artist from the Midwest.  His work focuses on nature, especially the depiction of landscape as seen in his New England Orchard, Connecticut River, Ireland, and Nova Scotia series.  From drawings, pastels, or watercolors executed onsite, Lee then develops his prints, which are usually color reduction woodcuts, but also relief etchings, and linocuts.  Images from his various thematic series are collected in a book format as a summation of the projects.  Lee sees “the intersection of type and image as a continuation of the art of drawing” in his books.

After receiving an MA from Bethany College in studio arts, he went on to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to receive an MFA in printmaking in 1980.  While working with Walter Hamady at UW-Madison, he discovered the book format to be the perfect medium for his narrative images.

In 1978 he started his private press, Blue Moon Press, where he makes single sheet prints, broadsides, and limited edition letterpress books containing his own images, and at times his own writing,  Some of his work contains contemporary poetry and work by other writers, while some is purely visual.

Along with humor and satire, which has cropped up in his work since his days in Madison, Lee is also fascinated with folklore, nursery rhymes, and mythology.  Lee’s books are supremely crafted, and can take a lot of time—up to four years– and so are produced once in a blue moon.

Lee has taught printmaking, drawing, and book arts at the Hartford Art School/University of Hartford since 1982.

Jim Lee will give the 5th Annual Bernstein Book Arts Lecture on Thursday, April 25, from 5:00-6:30, in 126 Memorial Library.  The public is invited to hear his talk: “Jim Lee: Printmaker and Occasional Book Artist.”

Curated by Lyn Korenic, with the assistance of graduate student Tim Vermeulen.

The exhibit runs February 1 – April 30, 2019.