Lee Mei-Ling, Summer

San Francisco, USA


Summer Mei-Ling Lee was born and raised in San Fancisco. A multi-disciplinary artist, she creates process-based works and performances, embracing risk-taking and collaboration. Through research and discovery, she sets the conditions for art to enter. Lee explores themes of absence and presence, the impermanence of cultural heritage and humanity’s relationship with “the unknowable”, as seen through her paintings depicting the expanse of the ocean horizon. Her diptych works on paper and mounted on wooden structures form a mirror image of the horizon, recalling the idea of “heaven and earth” in Chinese creation myths. 

Lee’s work often includes projected visuals, with images shifting between layers of translucent sheets of paper; she utilizes light to create different levels of visualization. In the current exhibition with Alisan Fine Arts, her recent cyanotypes have a similar effect. Lee prints family photos onto layers of gauze so that the viewer sees various perspectives as they move around the work, the way memory and human history shift depending on time and place. 

Evoking divinity more directly, her Annunciation series recalls Renaissance altarpieces, painted and gilded in gold leaf and depicting images of Lee’s son and grandmother alongside birds, another recurring motif in the artist’s work. According to the artist, “The gold leaf forms an enigmatic and luminous ground, a mysterious place for ancestors, descendants, and birds closest (to me) to emerge or withdraw…”. Seen through the lens of her family history, Lee’s work offers a nuanced and personal perspective on cultural heritage - evolving and shifting rather than fixed in time. 

Recent exhibitions include Minnesota Street Project (San Francisco); Marqueyssac, France; Untitled Art Fair “Monuments,” Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, SCOPE Miami Beach (Art Basel), Berliner Liste, Italian Institute of Culture, San Francisco Arts Commission, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), Southern Exposure (San Francisco), Woman-Made Gallery (Chicago, IL) and Fei Contemporary Art Center (Shanghai). Her work is in the permanent collection of He Xiangning Art Museum in Shenzhen, China.

Light, Space and Time at Alisan Fine Arts-New York in 2024 is the gallery’s first time working with the artist.


Born in San Francisco, USA
1997 BA, Stanford University, CA, USA
2011 MFA, San Francisco Art Institute, CA, USA
Currently Lives in San Francisco, CA, USA


  • Unsettled, re.riddle gallery, San Francisco, CA, USA


  • Into the Nearness of Distance, Chinese Culture Center, San Francisco, CA, USA



  • Hungry Ghost Festival, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • The Infinite Cage, Sanchez Art Center, Pacifica, CA, USA

  • Flash! Edge on the Square, CMAC, San Francisco, CA, USA


  • The Infinite Cage: Kongkee, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • Lantern Stories, Yu-Wen Wu public art installation, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • Symbiocene, L’été des Serpents, Arles, France

  • In Honor of Our Belonging, Portsmouth Square, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • Neon Was Never Brighter, Chinatown Media Arts Center, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • Hope In All Things: Songs for Chinatown, Portsmouth  Square, San Francisco, CA, USA


  • The Great AAPI Elder Print Off, Panel Discussion, Chinese Culture Center, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • SFAI 150: A Spirit of Disruption, Anne Bremer Library, SFAI, San Francisco, CA, USA


  • De Young Museum Open, FAMSF, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • Ars Electronica Festival, Linz, Austria

  • However Invisible, French Consulate, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • Cash is King II, Moco Museum, Amsterdam


  • Pour the Line, Abacus Row, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • The Body Electric, 41 Ross Alley, San Francisco, CA, USA


  • re: home, For Freedom, Minnesota Street Projects, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • Requiem: Doc Film Screening, Chinese American Museum of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

  • Autotomy, Pratice Space, Cambridge, MA, USA

  • The Stillness the Dancing, Chicago Arts District Fifth Floor, Chicago, IL, USA

  • Xian Rui 10 years, Chinese Culture Center, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • Liminal Space, CAAM Film Festival, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • After Tomorrow, French Consulate, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • A Current Affair Fashion Show, Craneway Pavilion, Richmond, CA, USA

  • Notating Beauty that Moves, Artistree, Hong Kong

  • Special Project: Monuments, Untitled Art Fair, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • SCOPE Miami, Miami, USA

  • Berliner Liste Art Fair, Berlin, Germany

  • Requiem: Welcome Home to un-Home, Chinese Culture Center, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • Liminal Space: Crossing An Uncertain Ocean, San Francisco, CA, USA


  • 9th International Ink Art Biennale, Shenzhen, China

  • Art Basel Hong Kong, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong

  • Fragile, Italian Institute of Culture SF, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • Bringing it Home: (Re)locating Cultural Legacy…, San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco, CA, USA


  • Everybody’s Ocean, Santa Cruz Museum of Art, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

  • Auto-Poeisis, Reynolds Museum, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA, USA


  • Double Vision, He Xiangning Museum, Shenzhen, China

  • Art and Philosophy, Lecture at Video Bureau, Guangzhou, China                            

  • Bay Area Now 7, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA, USA


  • Nothingness, Panel Discussion, Angar Mora Salon, San Rafael, CA, USA


  • Video Project, Fei Contemporary Art Center, Shanghai, China

  • Video Collection, Bamboo Curtain Studio, Taipei, Taiwan


  • Vernissage, San Francisco Art Institute MFA Exhibit, Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA, USA


  • Art and Spirituality Panel Presentation, Sunnyvale Zen Center, Sunnyvale, CA, USA


  • De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • Alliance Française , San Francisco, CA, USA


  • AAWAA Exhibit, Chinese Culture Center, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • Woodward’s Garden, San Francisco, CA, USA

  • Melange D’Artistes, Alliance Française, San Francisco, CA, USA


  • Bay Area Annual, Sanchez Art Center, CA, USA

  • Chaises et Oiseaux, Alliance Française, San Francisco, CA, USA 


He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China