"Self-expression as a form of activism fosters a greater understanding of the importance of human justice, rights and needs." - Lee Tracy
Tracy's talents cover a plethora of mediums; painting, public art, installations, projects, books and writing, including explorations in performative, collaborative, and participatory work. The energy level is immense, prolific, as Tracy experiments, invents and reinvents works that react and interact. The connections within the bodies of work are not readily apparent, yet, the common thread can be found. The element of time winds through the palimpsest of memory found in her writing, the suggested quests in her paintings, or the worn materials altered by nature in her projects. Tracy's art is as much about her life as it is about the time in which we live.
Tracy developed The Demandments Program, an educational platform encouraging students to engage in exposing real-world problems and challenges in their own community using the power and persuasion of visual art and text. Students identify pressing issues that inspire the creation of poster art stating a demand, and build the courage and confidence needed to express opinions boldly and with clarity. Children learn how to seek information, gain an understanding of facts, and how to disseminate an informed opinion to others. Communication tools include exploratory talk, dialogue and debate skills, while digital tools offer children the opportunity to participate in global creative action through an online forum showcasing their demands.
In the year 2010, Chicago artist Lee Tracy began working on The Demandments, a series consisting of 110 original works on paper that use imperatives to express pressing issues and demand change.
Each artwork is available in a limited edition of 5 and printed to order by a Hahnemühle certified digital master using archival (permanent non-fade) pigment ink, printed on acid-free, 300 gsm bright white hot press 100% cotton rag paper. Individual prints are signed and numbered, embossed with the publishing House (Lee Tracy Studio) and include the certificate of authenticity hologram seal of the master printer.
Three sizes are available:
- Full size / 55" x 40" / $1,500
- Half size / 27" x 20" / $600
- Quarter size / 13" x 10" / $400
In 2014, the artwork titled 'Hate Ruins Everything' was included in the Chicago Angels Project, an exhibition paying tribute to the lives, aspirations and dreams of children killed by gun violence in Chicago and calling attention to the war taking place almost daily on Chicago’s streets.
Ten half size Demandments were exhibited in June 2018 at the Chicago Forum on Global Cities.
Hana Pietri partnered with Chicago Public Schools and BrightStar Community Outreach to integrate The Demandments Program in their curriculum. Students created their own Demandments and discussed what issues to address and how to implement them. More information here
Acrylic and collage 37” x 37” 1997
Oil on drywall 32"x49" 2001-present
Oil on canvas 55” x 40” 2005-2013
Acrylic and collage 37” x 37” 1997
Lee Tracy has an affinity with landscape. One recognizes such motifs as trees and crags in her gestural oil paintings, though their titles make no reference to actual sights or places, instead underlining formal relationships, such as "The way things connect." The impact of the pieces comes as much from the large scale of often emblematic forms as from vigorous paint handling that recalls some of the storm and stress of Neo-Expressionist painting in the 1980s.
- Alan G. Artner, Tribune art critic