Artist's Bio

Altered Books by Jacqueline Rush Lee

Jacqueline Rush Lee defies our expectations of what books can be with fecund meditations on nature and permanence. With a deft hand, Rush Lee explores the material possibilities, drawing parallels between the life-cycles of books and those of humans through forms found in nature
— Curator Beth McLaughlin, Fuller Museum


Jacqueline Rush Lee is an internationally exhibited Hawaii-based sculptor recognized for her work with the book form. Lee is interested in the aesthetic of books as cultural objects that come with their own histories of use and meaning.  By using books as her canvas or building block, Jacqueline transforms their formal and conceptual arrangement through a variety of practices in which the physicality, and thus the context of the books have been altered. Remaining open to the physical and metaphorical transformations that occur in her working process, Lee’s residual sculptures or installations emerge as a palimpsest – a document that bears traces of the original text within its framework but possesses a new narrative as a visual document of another time. While Jacqueline is recognized for her work with the book, she works in other media.

Originally from Northern Ireland, Jacqueline has participated in numerous exhibitions in Hawaii and abroad. Always making things by hand as young as she could remember, she hails from an artistic family. Her Maternal Grandfather was a talented Figurative Painter and her Father constructed finely hand-crafted horse gigs as a hobby. Jacqueline's artwork is featured in books, magazines, and publications with mentions of her work in the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and Courrier International. Select shows include: Odd Volumes: Book Art from the Allan Chasanoff Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery, The Book Borrowers: Contemporary Artists Transforming the Book (Bellevue Arts Museum), Unhinged: Book Art on the Cutting Edge (Whatcom Museum), and Metamorphosis: The Art of Altered Books a Five Person Exhibit at the Fuller Craft Museum. Her work is in private and public collections that include the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, Art in Public Places, and the Allan Chasanoff Book Art Collection, Yale Art Gallery.

Jacqueline has a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Distinction in Ceramics and a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art from the University of Hawaii at Manoa 2000. She has participated in workshops in Hawaii and on the Mainland U.S. Ceramic processes and attention to form and surface continue to inform her works, as well as conceptual fine craft aesthetics and ideas. She is the recipient of a 2018 Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Fellowship where she will develop installation work with books. In the Fall of 2016 she was Artist-in-Residence at the University of Hawaii developing a site-specific installation WHORL, as well as Artist-in-Residence at Penland School of Crafts and the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts, GA, where she worked on site-specific and environmental installations.