Yoon Lee at The Boiler

Borrowed Time

2 October – 1 November, 2009

Press Release

Pierogi is delighted to present an exhibition of Yoon Lee’s recent paintings at The Boiler. In this exhibition Lee continues to develop her primarily large-scale, highly charged paintings in acrylic on PVC panel. Lee’s paintings incorporate sweeping motion often set against, and moving through, more static architectural and urban forms such as highway-like structures, bridges, among others.

Lee develops her compositions by bringing together elements as diverse as images that she’s compiled from popular media, her own sketches, and photographs she’s taken of man-made structures. She scans all of these elements into the computer and uses various filtering mechanisms to manipulate the forms and capture the sense of motion in them. Whereas futurists attempted to capture the physical sensation of motion and speed of the newly invented automobiles and airplanes, Lee attempts to convey the sense of chaotic activity, intensity, and speed of contemporary life—not only in the physical world but also as experienced in the digital realm. She notes—

“The allure of synthetic materiality in my work is close to that of confectionaries and shiny plastic items that have inundated our culture. This connection between the work and consumer goods reflects my interest in consumption as a strategy to assuage urban anxiety. My work addresses the relationship between this anxiety and the speed in which information and signals travel through space. The convergence reflects my vision of contemporary reality—complex and fraught with chaotic activity and information overflow; often invisible yet bounded by a sense of physical order.” (Lee, 2009)

To achieve this Lee has conceived a unique way of painting which combines technology and meticulous handwork—both elements being integral to her paintings. Her use of digital technology has allowed her to bring a sense of speed and facility to the paintings and yet her actual painting process is slow and meticulous. From a distance her paintings appear spontaneous and perhaps even mechanically produced but, upon closer inspection, the labor-intensive process she employs to make them is evident in the textured layers of paint. Her paintings bring to mind a kinetic combination of Pollock, Lichtenstein and Al Heald—dithered dot matrices and swirls depicting deep space-like environments. In these new paintings Lee explores movement through vertical space, resulting in a series of vertical formats.

“The urban setting has been a consummate space to express my view of chaotic reality guided by perspectival order and directional movements, and emphasizes the relationship between urban anxiety and the speed and overflow of invisible information. My work process and focus on a synthetic quality — amplified at the large-scale — imbue a sense of ease and spontaneity from a distance, yet at closer view, captures the immense abstraction of speed, density, and signal that traverse space and time.” (Lee, 2009)

Yoon Lee was born in Busan, Korea and grew up mainly in Southern California. She received a BA from UC San Diego and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. This is her second New York one-person exhibition.