Paintings & Drawings
Won Lee's recent body of paintings is collage and paint, the palette primarily watery blues and greens. At a distance, the main forms are human bodies, painted in a loose drawerly manner, gossamer and transparent and very often only partially described ? a torso without neck and head, haunches that do not lead down into feet. These bodies are ephemeral and thin as ghosts, mere suggestions of the human animal.
Closer up, patches that read as colour and shape from afar are now legible as photos clipped from news magazines. Again, they are pictures of humans: models, politicians, starving people, celebrities, the beautiful, the engaged, the disaffected, and the wretched. The clarity and photographic reality of these collaged elements stands in stark contrast to the softness of the painted figures.
The dichotomy of visual approaches suggests that, for all the apparent concreteness of the photographed person, or indeed, of the corporeal beings we know, those bodies are really no more fixed and permanent than the phantom-like painted figures on the canvas. We are all fated to pass from substance to insubstantiality, a guaranteed and eventual demise that Lee believes is the most prescient of all human anxieties. Most of us contend with this grim truth by focusing our concerns elsewhere, but Lee seeks to address the rather amazing fact of death and life directly, to take as his primary subject the body and its mortal nature, to perhaps bring to light ? if not resolve ? our inquietude towards this most primary subject matter.