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Shall We Dance

2022. 10. 28 – 11. 13
Michael Lee

Michael Lee, active in the US, Japan, and Korea, presents his newer paintings created in 2020 and 2021. The artist creates careful, soft, yet intense movements of colors using oil paints applied in direct/rudimentary manner engaging sensitive viewers to share in the commotion of such movements that are at once dance-like and intimately human. These newer works consist of eleven ‘etudes’ and six ‘partitas’; each of which possessing its own personality filled with expressions of desire and passion.

 Michael LEE Partita 1, 50.5×50.5cm, oil on canvas, 2021

Gallery Doll presents a solo exhibition of Michael Lee, who currently operates in the US, Japan, and Korea. It is his third exhibition in Korea following 2012 and 2016; showcasing works created in 2020 and 2021. The artist grew up amidst diverse cultural environments in Korea, Japan, Philippines, United States, Mexico, Ecuador, and Uganda. Even after becoming an adult, his global career continued in Switzerland, United States, Japan, and Korea. This uniquely diverse background interestingly results in paintings that explores the most primitive and universal human expressions of passion. His innate gift as an artist cuts through distractions from cultures and biases; and presents only the core aesthetics of human desires brought to life via controlled yet raw movements of paintbrush.

He began his career as a full-time artist in Portland, Oregon; and held his first solo exhibition in Tokyo, Japan in 2008. Early in his career, figurative paintings such as portraits and landscapes appeared occasionally; however, his main approach tended to focus on abstract aesthetics using movements of colors. In the beginning, his paintings had relatively specific titles, but recent works consist of neutralized titles borrowing from broad musical motifs such as ‘symphonies’, ‘sonatas’; and now ‘etudes’ and ‘partitas’. This is not irrelevant to the fact that in modern art, if the title of the work is ‘untitled’, it often guarantees the freedom of the viewer and leaves the interpretability of the work open. Beyond this, these broad musical titles help corroborate with his lively colors and brushstrokes as well as the theme of this show: ‘Shall We Dance’. The dynamics created by bold movements of colors and brushstrokes seem to depict/promulgate ‘dances’ that exist within us. In his previous shows, borrowed motifs from real world such as skies, mountains, snows, and nights, were often used; but in these newer works, he focuses on pure colors passionately driven to directly capture and reveal raw human yearnings.

Gallery Doll
87 Samcheongro, Jongrogu, Seoul