Ness Lee: Becoming together, keeping ourselves

Kara Stanton
Ness Lee: Becoming together, keeping ourselves
Thursday, January 9, 2020, 7:00 pm to Saturday, December 12, 2020, 5:00 pm

This January, Toronto-based artist Ness Lee brings a new mural to Open Space!


The foyer mural will climb the entrance stairwell to the gallery, and is the third of such projects to welcome visitors into the gallery in the past three years. Previous stairwell murals include work by Victoria-based mural artist Jesse Campbell and conceptual artist Garry Neill Kennedy.


Lee’s artistic repertoire and reputation has grown in recent years in their homebase of Toronto, where they have painted murals across the city, amassing a social media following along the way.


Their work often features big, soft, long-haired figures depicted in moments of vulnerability, intimacy, discomfort, and care. Across various mediums, including paint, pottery, and illustration, Lee’s work holds space for these often difficult emotions, imbuing in their spare linework a depth of feeling that is personal, thoughtful, and playful. Engaging with the fraught, sometimes disconcerting space of the stairwell, the mural seeks to acknowledge and embrace visitors, extending the consideration and care ever-present in Lee's work.


The mural, entitled Becoming together, keeping ourselves, will be in place in the gallery from January 9-December 12, 2020.


Ness Lee will speak to their work at a talk and opening reception event Thursday, January 9 from 7-9pm.

About the artist
Ness Lee draws upon history and personal narratives to create tender and surreal illustrations, paintings, sculptures and installations. Exploring states of mind during intimate stages of vulnerability, Lee’s work takes form as an effort in seeking comfort, forgiveness and desire for an end of a self-perpetuated state. Based in Toronto, their work has been featured at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Agnes Etherington, The Art Gallery of Hamilton, Art Toronto, as well as galleries in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Montreal and Toronto. They are currently represented by Patel Gallery.

Open Space respectfully acknowledges that we are located on the unceded territories of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples, now known as the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations. We seek to honour and uphold these ongoing relationships to the land and its stewards as we work on these territories.

Open Space is not wheelchair accessible and is accessed by a flight of 23 stairs with two landings. There are two gender inclusive washrooms, one multi-stall and one single stall with a urinal. If you have any other questions or concerns about accessibility, please contact office [at] or 250-383-8833.