Xian Rui 2014: Into the Nearness of Distance – Summer Lee

April 15, 2014

Into the Nearness of Distance 最近的距離

Summer Mei Ling Lee

with Karen Leslie Ficke and Adam Hathaway



 750 Kearny Street, 3/F, Visual Art Center

OPENING: Thursday, July 10, 6-8pm

Free admission

 RSVP on Facebook or email Jenny at jenny@c-c-c.org

Dinner with Artists,  7/10, 8pm

Eventbrite - Dinner with Artists on July 10th

The Chinese Culture Foundation is excited to announce our 6th Annual XianRui (Fresharp) Artist in Excellence: Summer Mei Ling Lee.  As the Xian Rui artist of 2014, Summer Lee will debut in multiple locations throughout the year.

Opening in Summer 2014, the 6th Annual XianRui titled Into the Nearness of Distance  not only will incorporate a solo exhibition in the newly designated Visual Art Center of the Chinese Culture Foundation, but also at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, community collaborations, and performances in public spaces.  This “collaborative solo” embodies both the artist’s creative process, as well as the fresh presentation approach that echoes the geographical and psychological proximity depicted by her work.

 Into the Nearness of Distance  explores the fragile relationship between absence and presence and the human relationship to the unknowable. Capturing a sense of longing for but inevitable failure to reconnect with ancestors who once lived in Chinatown, Lee’s work focuses thematically upon the universality of generational estrangement from a rooted but also distancing culture. With the goal to mediate the simultaneous longing and inability to connect to a historical sense of identity, her installation work alternates light and darkness, absence and presence, exploring the boundaries of where the tangible world becomes intangible. With a range of media, Lee’s recent work draws from her personal ancestry to expose the limitations of the “consciousness of objects” and seeks an image of what transcending those limits might be–to explore and transcend the complications of 21st century inter and counter-relationship; be they immigrant, vs. 3.5 generation, pure ethnic vs. bi/multi-cultural, and heteronormative vs. queer.

Photo by Shae Rocco


Summer Mei Ling Lee is a 3.5 generation Chinese-American artist working in the Bay Area.

In conjunction with the main installation, the Chinese Culture Foundation was invited to participate as a part of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for their annual “Bay Area Now” group exhibition. An extension of Into the Nearness of Distance will be shown at YBCA.


Read the Curatorial Statement here
Read Laura Boles Faw’s Review of the Exhibition
Press Release




XianRui(Fresharp) Artist Excellence Series


Xian Rui ( Fresh and Sharp) Artist Excellence series is the first of its kind exhibition that features innovative and cutting edge art of emerging contemporary artists. Into the Nearness of Distance is the sixth exhibition presented by the Visual Art Center of the Chinese Culture Foundation.  Previous XianRui artists includeLure by Austin installation artist Beili Liu (2008), Chromatic Constructions by Boston fiber artisan Dora Hsiung (2009), O–Viewpoint by Palo Alto artist Stella Zhang (2010), White Ink by ink painter Zheng Chongbin (2011), and Orange Peel, Harbor Seal, Hyperreal by installation artist Adrian Wong (2012).

As featured in:

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Admission Supported By:


BAN7  (Bay Area Now, 7th edition)

Summer Lee: Into the Nearness of Distance 

July  18-October 5, 2014

701 Mission Street, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Since 1997, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts has mounted its signature triennial titled Bay Area Now. The exhibition portion of the 7th edition of this institution-wide program, or BAN7, will take place July 18-October 5, 2014. Each edition of the program, organized by YBCA’s curators, marks a moment in the life of the institution and regional art scenes through the work of the participating artists who are seen as representative of the spirit of that particular time.

BAN7’s core idea is to decentralize the curatorial process and centralize the public presentation of some of the most exciting artistic voices in the region today.

Article 1- published July 18, 2014, review by Kenneth Baker

Article 2 from SF Chronicle – Published July 13, 2014, by Sue Adolphson

Article 3 from SF Chronicle – Published July 13, 2014, by Jesse Hamlin


Aug 6, 2014

Programming – Into the Nearness of Distance 最近的距離


In connection with the Into the Nearness of Distance exhibition, a series of performances and community workshops with the artist will be part of auxiliary events. Join us for these participatory events with the artist and the community!


July 10 – opening reception, with performance with Summer Lee, Karen Leslie Ficke, and Adam Hathaway


August 16 @ Portsmouth Square – Summer Lee and  Sofia Araya-Villena will collaborate in a new performance, involving plexiglass and language in an investigation of how words give us the world by taking it away


Part of the Chinatown Music Festival


Sept 25 @ Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 6-8pm – A community, collaborative art-making performance followed by a tea-tasting, hosted by artists and members of the CCC.

Audience will participate in making bird seed sculptures, or contribute to a larger birdseed sculpture that will be placed in Portsmouth Square.


Nov 8 @ He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen China. Opening of  “Into the Nearness of Distance.”


Other dates to be announced.


Visual Art Center

750 Kearny St, 3F

San Francisco, CA 94108


Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

701 Mission St

San Francisco, CA 94103


Portsmouth Square 花園角

(public square block between Clay and Washington, Kearny and Grant)

San Francisco, Chinatown


He Xiangning Art Museum

Shenzhen, China