Seattle-based artist Li Turner is a figurative painter and printmaker who explores social issues with both seriousness and wit. Her watercolor images and observations embrace an encyclopedia of injustices and dilemmas, but always with gentle deprecating humor. Topics range from every day to profound, touching on sexism, racism, poverty, pollution, and a host of other inequalities.
Having grown up in a small New England town that was isolated from much of the world, Turner won her first art show at age 12, for a drawing of her grandparent’s home in Mapleton, Maine. Through her teen years, she continued to draw while studying ballet and modern dance at Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Turner moved west to attend college where she studied dance and social services and earned a Bachelor's and a Master’s Degree from the University of Utah. She also studied art and sculpture at the University of California at Berkeley.
As she solidified her own visual style and voice, Turner was influenced by Robert Colescott, Gene Gentry McMahon, and Jacob Lawrence. At first glance, Turner’s paintings present the viewer with something beautiful and interesting. As the viewer is drawn into the painting, Turner’s imaginative narratives tell a story and provide a viewpoint, for the observer to be pulled into the painting in their own individual way, eliciting personal life experiences.
Turner’s art is held in the public collections of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, in Washington, DC, the University of Washington Medical Center-Roosevelt, in Seattle, Washington, and the Portland Contemporary Arts Gallery, in Oregon. Her work has been exhibited in many cities and countries including; New York, Chicago, Seattle, and Montreal, as well as; Scotland, China, Bulgaria, and Denmark. Turner continues to exhibit regularly throughout the United States.
I am a painter and printmaker, who explores social, political, and environmental issues. Often my work explores the dilemma of conscience, the shock, and helplessness we each experience upon being confronted with life’s incongruities and conflicts. Though my aim is to reveal my own personal views, my work hopefully, is universal in its comprehension. I enjoy staying off the beaten path. Through its narration, my creative works take on a somewhat complex and at times whimsical nature. This mix allows me to deal with weighty concepts while allowing for a gentle approach.