1) Promotion by CGTN on March 2017.
2)Interview by CCTV-America on May 16, 2015
An exhibit showcases notable women artists in the region, A 16th-century poem is the through-line for an artist’s landscapes. Freda Lee-McCann and Joyce McCarten: Morocco: Colors and Shapes Through June 17 at Studio Gallery, 2108 R St. NW.
Review by Mark Jenkins, 6/2/2023 Washington Post...........
A simpler Chinese poem sparked Freda Lee-McCann’s “After Tradition,” a Studio Gallery show whose convention-bending artworks chop and reassemble bits of 16th-century writer Zhu Yun-ming’s ode to watching May cherry blossoms blow in the wind.
Lee-McCann is a local artist who was born in D.C. but grew up in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. She often makes paintings that combine or contrast venerable Chinese styles with recent Western ones. “After Tradition” is divided principally between two series. One comprises craggy landscapes with Chinese characters lettered lightly atop them or written on scraps of paper collaged at random amid the vistas; the other consists of pure calligraphy in which characters in robust black strokes are superimposed over ones in gray, brown, orange or various intensities of blue.
In both sets, the characters are written loosely and often clipped around the edges, so they function foremost as abstract gestures. The verse is “not necessarily to be read by the viewers,” acknowledges the artist’s statement.
Like Bertrand Mao, Lee-McCann adds color to gray-based landscapes, although hers are a bit bolder and not always naturalistic. Towering rock faces can be accented in brown, green or lavender, while the brighter hues of the purely calligraphic works suggest pop art or commercial typography. In Zhu Yun-ming’s time, his calligraphy was considered extravagant and untraditional, qualities Lee-McCann appreciates. Ironically, her latest effort to modernize the age-old shanshui style has a 16th-century precedent.
By Mark Jenkins
October 15, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. EDT
As a companion piece to “Bluebiguity,” Freda Lee-McCann made Chinese-style landscapes that symbolize the traffic in blue-and-white ceramics along the Silk Road. “Islamic Blue” refers to the fact that this style of porcelain, although associated with China, was dependent on cobalt from the Islamic world. Most of Lee-McCann’s paintings place a blue-and-white vessel amid a mountainous vista, but she also made a few pictures of everyday contemporary objects, such as staplers and tape dispensers, embellished with classical Chinese decorative motifs. What were once highly specialized embellishments are now part of a globalized, mass-produced jumble.
In the galleries: Creatures under existential threat
By Mark Jenkins
May 20, 2019
.....In both style and subject, Chinese literati ink painting flourished for centuries with no significant updates. Local artist Freda Lee-McCann, who is of Chinese descent, is set on modernizing the genre. Her latest experiment, “A Point of View,” is one of several small shows downstairs from Kauffman’s at Studio Gallery.
Lee-McCann ponders rocky peaks, a common subject for monochromatic Chinese paintings, but she forgoes the calligraphic brushwork of the archetypes. Her landscapes are made primarily with acrylics, supplemented by Sharpie pens. The latter are used to simulate the halftone dots Roy Lichtenstein so lovingly reproduced in paintings inspired by comic strips. In this case, the dotted areas serve primarily to set off expanses of white. One thing Lee-McCann retains from bygone Chinese ink painting is the sense of openness.
Sally Kauffman: Jeopardy Through May 18. Freda Lee-McCann: A Point of View; Lisa Battle: Echoes; and Susan Raines: Serendipity Through May 25 at Studio Gallery, 2108 R St. NW.
In the galleries: ‘Afrofuturism,’ defined in the moment, by nine artists
By Mark Jenkins September 7, 2018
Chris Corson & Freda Lee-McCann
Austerely rendered in brushed black ink, classical Chinese literati paintings most often depict serene nature. Freda Lee-McCann’s “See the Difference,” also at Studio, presents one fairly traditional example of the genre — but only as a reference point. The other pictures add color, texture, calligraphy or gestures associated with modern artists, such as Jackson Pollock’s spatters. Granite peaks become abstract forms, their rocky severity eroded by bright hues and collaged bits. If the similarities between the images are always apparent, the differences are illuminating.
Chris Corson: Speak to Me and Freda Lee-McCann: See the Difference On view through Sept. 23 at Studio Gallery, 2108 R St. NW. 202-232-8734. www.studiogallerydc.com.
By Mark Jenkins September 9, 2016
“In Search of Wisdom,” by Freda Lee-McCann in her Studio Gallery show, reflects the artist’s love of mountains in Chinese landscapes. (Freda Lee-McCann)Poems and pictures have long cohabited in Chinese ink painting, an ancient form updated in two current shows. At the Athenaeum, Kan Kit-Keung takes a more familiar approach, at least to the verse he inscribes into his landscapes. Freda Lee-McCann, whose work is at Studio Gallery, also incorporates calligraphy, but often via collage, with the characters brushed onto scraps of newsprint.
Painting with black ink, Kan realistically portrays trees, rocks and birds, but these are just framing devices for the main event: water in motion. The China-bred Maryland artist’s show is titled “Falls, Waves and White Water,” which is accurate yet doesn’t convey the difficulty of Kan’s self-appointed task. He depicts the torrents and mists mostly as unpainted absences. Use of white space is customary in Chinese ink painting, but rarely to suggest something so dynamic as a waterfall.
Kan has scrutinized Western-style landscape painting, and visited epic North and South American vistas. The effects of those studies are evident in his paintings, although more so in the full-color ones. The near-monochromatic pictures in this show couldn’t be mistaken for orthodox Chinese paintings, but they tip the balance toward that tradition. It’s their vigor, not their style, that marks them as made-in-America.
Where Kan occasionally adds subtle blue tints, Lee-McCann often uses a second color, mostly blue, green or reddish brown. The D.C.-born Chinese American artist’s “Spirit of the Mountain” also depicts waterfalls, as well as snaky rivers. But these are secondary to her principal subjects: rocky peaks and outcroppings. These are rendered in ink, supplemented by watercolor and collage, or in acrylic. Ironically, the paintings made with latter, a modern medium, are the more traditional in form.
Some of the verse in Lee-McCann’s work is by her great-uncle, Jen Yuan-Tao, who wrote while fighting in the Chinese civil war during the 1920s. No translations are provided, but the titles of pictures such as “Longing for Home” give a sense of his concerns. Kan’s poems, which are translated, were inspired by specific sites, notably Brazil and Argentina’s Iguazu Falls. “My brush can highlight but a little portion of the wonders,” he wrote. Perhaps so, but “Falls, Waves and White Water” freezes the surges’ roar with silent grace.
Kan Kit-Keung: Falls, Waves and White Water On view through Sept. 18 at the Athenaeum, 201 Prince St., Alexandria. 703-548-0035. nvfaa.org. Freda Lee-McCann: Spirit of the Mountain On view through Sept. 24 at Studio Gallery, 2108 R St. NW. 202-232-8734. studiogallerydc.com.
Baltimore Sun Dec. 8, 2015, review of the BWS exhibit at Kish Gallery in Columbia, MD
' And for a complete immersion in abstraction. Freda Lee-McCann's" Not Afraid" is a densely assertive watercolor in which roughly-edged, mini-zones of red, purple, white, orange and blue push up against each other as if calling out for your attention, This artist is not afraid to make a watercolor that is anything but old-fashioned.'
'2nd Biennial Maryland Regional Juried Art Exhibition' Nov.3, 2013-Jan 26, 2014
Presented by University of Maryland University College.
Art & Dreams, Contemporary Chinese Art around the Capital
by Ingrid Larsen, Chinese Art Historian, University of Maryland University College, 2008
Freda Lee-McCann’s Great Wall of China displays the conventional brushwork and multiple point perspective of traditional Chinese landscape painting, showing the influence of her teachers Huang Junbi and Jin Qinbo. In contrast in Cubic Waterfall, the artist zooms in on a rocky section of mountain, and like a geologist conducting an experiment replaces all the usual back-grey contour lines, defining the fissures andfacets of rock, with shades of blue. Lee-McCann’s title aptly points to the cubist tradition and her more recent training in Western-style watercolor.
Watercolor Yearbook, December, 2003 by Watercolor Magic
'Ones to Watch' - 15 Inspiring Stories to fuel your next painting breakthrough. "Top of the World (Scroll)" Ink and watercolor on Rice Paper, 26"x26" ,is one of the 15 stories.
Freda Lee-McCann : Combining Traditions
My most recent breakthrough came while I was frantically getting ready for a one-person show. I submerged myself in work; after a while it seemed that the paintings just flowed from my brush--- a direct connection to my emotions, without concern for technique or brushwork. By investing all those hours of concentration, I felt I had learned a new language that I could now speak fluently. I had begun to bridge the traditional Chinese brushwork that I had learned as a youth and the more dramatic Western style of painting. This combination has allowed me to speak about my emotions but with the discipline that good painting requires.
Mountains have been a traditional subject for Chinese landscape paintings since the 11th century. I have always loved mountains and have been painting and studying them for more than 20 years. For me there is an endless fascination and joy in painting these bones of the Earth.
Asian-American art makes fascinating exhibit in historic Oella by Eric Miller ( The Baltimore Guide) August, 2000
"Then and Now: The Asian Presence of Difference," skillfully curated by Mihee Ahn and Barbara S. Han, is showing at the historic Oella Mill Gallery's second Asian-American artists exhibit.
It showcases 15 artists from New York, Washington and Korea and highlights both contemporary and traditional Asian art. ...
Freda Lee-McCann shows a number of master landscapes in the classical literati style. "Mist and Rain" (ink on rice paper) has a beautiful, atmospheric texture overlaying the brushwork which is made by pressing crinkled paper onto the surface. In "Trees Along the River," she has whipped the surface with hemp fiber to produce a windblown effect.