Yoon Lee Bio

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Yoon Lee was born in Busan, Korea and grew up mainly in Southern California. Her 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.

Busan, Korea.

MFA Painting, San Francisco Art Institute, CA
1999 BA Visual Arts, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA
1997–8 Tyler School of Art at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

New Work, Pierogi, Brooklyn, NY (April 3-May 3)
Road to Absolution, Pierogi, Brooklyn, NY
Confluence, Mirrored, Emerson College, Little Building Scaffolding Project, Boston, MA
Minor Inconveniences, Marx & Zavattero, San Francisco, CA
Borrowed Time, Pierogi, Brooklyn, NY
Recent Paintings, Pierogi, Brooklyn, NY
Verve Syntheses, Luggage Store Gallery, San Francisco, CA
A Recapitulation (Multi-filtered), Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, CA
A Sampler, Claire de Lune, San Diego, CA
Miscellaneous Textural Curiosities, Univ. of California, San Diego, Galleries A & B, La Jolla, CA
Paintings from ’97 to ’99, Annex Gallery at University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA

Pierogi XX: Twentieth Anniversary Exhibition, Pierogi, Brooklyn, NY
Sea Change: Part Two, Marx & Zavattero, San Francisco, CA
Subjective / Objective, Pierogi, Brooklyn, NY
SEVEN, Pierogi, Miami, FL
Cream, no sugar, Pierogi, Brooklyn, NY
Yoon Lee, Jonathan Schipper, Tavares Strachan, The Boiler, Brooklyn, NY
Pierogi et al, Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Future Tense: Reshaping the Landscape, The Neuberger Museum of Art. Curated by Dede Young
(May 11–July 20)
The Prom, Lawrimore Projects, Seattle, WA
Red Hot–Asian Art Today from the Chaney Family Collection, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Selections from New American Paintings: MFA Annual, OSP Gallery, Boston, MA
(Un)Natural Selection, Pierogi, Brooklyn, NY
Swab, DCKT Contemporary, Barcelona, Spain
Euphorion, PIEROGI Leipzig, Germany
Moxie, Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco, CA
CMYK / RGB, TransAmerica Center, San Francisco, CA
Painting’s Edge 5, Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA
Cream – from the Top, Arts Benicia Center Gallery, Benicia, CA
Painting’s Edge Participant Show, Parks Exhibition Center, Idyllwild Arts, Idyllwild, CA
Up & Coming, Hang Gallery, San Francisco, CA
That’s So Queer, Crucible Steel Gallery at Cell Space, San Francisco, CA
Vernissage & MFA Thesis Exhibition, Herbst Pavillion at Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA
Free Love, Club Bohemia, San Francisco, CA
Ad-Hoc, Crucible Steel Gallery at Cell Space, San Francisco, CA
Post-postcard Show, The Lab, San Francisco, CA
Aesthetics of Cuteness, San Francisco Art Institute, CA
Continuing MFA Exhibition, Swell Gallery at San Francisco Art Institute, CA
Imbued, Gallery at Thoreau Center, San Francisco, CA
MFA Open House, Swell Gallery at San Francisco Art Institute, CA
C-Note, San Diego Art Institute, CA
Spring Festival of the Arts, Annex Gallery at University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA
Senior Painting Exhibition, Tyler Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Mandeville Group Show, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA
Spring Festival of the Arts, Annex Gallery at University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA

Eureka Fellowship, Fleishhacker Foundation, San Francisco, CA
Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant
Eduardo Carrillo Prize, San Jose Art Museum & Museo Eduardo Carrillo, CA
Outstanding Local Discovery Award: Visual Art, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco, CA
Alliance of Artists Communities’ Visions from the New California Award, James Irvine Foundation
Tournesol Award, Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA

2012 The Fountainhead Residency, Miami, FL
2007 Visions from the New California Residency, 18th Street Art Center, Santa Monica, CA
2006 Painting’s Edge, Idyllwild, CA
2005–06 Tournesol Artist Residency, Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA
2005 Painting’s Edge, Idyllwild, CA

2004 Panelist: Gift of Shame: Theories of Painting for the 21st Century, San Francisco Art Institute, CA

Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA (artist talk)
San Francisco Art Institute, CA (panel discussion)
Sonoma State University, CA
Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA
Arts Benicia, CA (panel discussion)

Mack, Jordan. “Yoon Lee and the Meticulous Diligence of Art,” Milk Made, April 14, 2015
Baker, Kenneth. Yoon Lee keeping busy, San Francisco Chronicle, 17 September 2011
Curiel, Jonathan. Fall Arts: Eight Visual Arts Exhibits You Must See This Season, SF Weekly, 7 September 2011
Swanhuyser, Hiya. ‘Minor Inconveniences’ Brings Out Major Abstractions, SF Weekly, 3 September 2011
Ten Years, Part Deux, SF Weekly, 3 September 2011
Sutton, Benjamin. Controlled Explosions, The L Magazine, October 09, 2009
Cotter, Holland. Yoon Lee, Jonathan Shipper, Tavares Strachan, The New York Times, April 16, 2009
Saltz, Jerry. “Energy to Burn,” New York Magazine, March 22, 2009
Cotter, Holland. “Yoon Lee, Jonathan Schipper, Tavares Strachan,” The New York Times, April 16, 2009
Harper’s Magazine, June 2008. P. 19 (Illus.)
Time Out New York, February 22–28, 2007 (Cover Illus.)
Open Studios Press, New American Paintings, 2005-6 MFA Edition
Zevitas, Steven T. Pub., New American Paintings, 2005-06 MFA Edition, Open Studios Press
Huston, Johnny Ray, Goldies 2006: Yoon Lee, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Vol. 41, Issue 6
Nov. 8-14, 2006
Baker, Kenneth, Yoon Lee at the Luggage Store, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 July 2006
Helfand, Glen, Critic’s Picks: Yoon Lee, www.artforum.com, 12 July – 5 August 2006
Huston, Johnny Ray, Verve Syntheses, SF Bay Guardian, Volume 40, Issue 40, 5 July – 11 July 2006
Leaverton, Michael, Yoon Lee Lifts Off, SF Weekly, 7 July 2006
Matthews, Lydia, Headlands Center for the Arts, Tournesol Award Exhibition 2006, San Francisco, CA
The Luggage Store Gallery: 2006 (Brochure)
Baker, Kenneth, ‘Moxie’ at Clark, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 February 2006
Berry, Colin, ‘Cream: From the Top’ at Arts Benicia, Artweek, October 2005, pp. 13-14
Feldman, Melissa E., Cream, artUS 10, October/November 2005
Hromack, Sarah, High Varnish, www.sfist.com, 23 May 2005