Assistant Professor of Art
Visual Arts Program
Department of Visual and Performing Arts
South Carolina State University
Kim LeDee (b. 1971) was born in Houston, Texas and is currently based in Columbia, South Carolina. She teaches studio courses in design, painting and drawing at SC State University in Orangeburg, SC and received post tenure in 2017. She completed undergraduate work at Dillard University and received a MFA graduate degree in painting from Howard University in 1995.
Professor LeDee has received numerous honors and awards for teaching, and service to the university community. She is a Fulbright-Hayes Scholar and traveled to Turkey in 2004. She participated in artist talks at North Carolina A & T State University, AZULE in Hot Springs, NC, City Gallery Waterfront Park in Charleston, and Benedict College in Columbia, SC.
Her paintings and drawings have been shown in over 60 exhibitions in the United States. These include solo shows in Columbia at Vista Lights and La Café’ Jazz Finley Park, Columbia Museum of Art, City Gallery Waterfront Park, MOJA Festival in Charleston, Wonder-Root Gallery in Atlanta, African American Museum of Dallas, Hampton University in Virginia and the District of Columbia Art Center.
Professor LeDee has worked on creative collaborative projects with other artist’s such as Bridging the Gap and Changing the Beat sponsored by Alternate ROOTS arts organization. She illustrated Color Me Creole, a children’s coloring book and painted several murals. Her work has been published and written about in many articles and reviews.
I consider creating to be a conscious experience that embodies aesthetics; a process of decision making and taking actions that transforms many aspects of being in the world. Art as an experience engages me in visualizing, acknowledging, and communicating what may be thought and/or felt, when verbal language is not sufficient. My approach to artmaking is highly intuitive and sometimes therapeutic. Trusting my instincts gives me the courage to go into unexplored territories where new and exciting discoveries may be encountered. With painting, I often begin with a mark or a gesture, a material catalyst that evolves into a “call and response” to the chosen media. This spontaneous working rhythm propels me toward a journey of self-discovery and self-actualization. My artwork reflects many styles from representational to abstract forms.
Making choices about material, subject and form begins with what is intriguing, readily available, and suitable in terms of communicating an idea or feeling. Discovering new possibilities and relationships between subjects and subjectivity in interaction with diverse media fuels my creativity.
Some of my interests include comics, graffiti, sci-fi/fantasy, afro-futurism, the mystical, Asian art and Abstract Expressionism. Much of my work explores the relationships between humanity, nature and spirituality. I have always been fascinated by our collective connection with nature, as a species, as well as the use of natural elements and the healing methods of non-Western medicine to enhance the quality of life. In addition, I enjoy working with toys and found objects to create assemblages and mixed media installation. Humor and satire are sometimes used to address social and/or political issues and question the mindset and behaviors of contemporary society.
The body of work presented here, document the evolution of consciousness starting with figurative to abstraction. It references the interconnectedness of things - the textured layers of life cycles – birth, death, transformation, regeneration, duality and the ethereal. It shows the struggle of the material’s transient nature, and the transcendence from the merely perceptible world of materiality to the purely intelligible realm of the spirit. This work also illustrates an exploration of media and a layering of reflecting textures that I think operates as an excellent analogy for lived experience. The “reflections” like a mirror image, are there to question my own existence as energy (a group held together as an identity).