Between Red: SeaHyun Lee
|When||7 Apr 2011 - 27 May 2011|
|Where||Nicholas Robinson Gallery
535 W 20th Street
NY, NY 10011
April 7 – May 27 2011
Executed in a crimson red wash against a background of pristine white, SeaHyunn Lee paints fictional landscapes of mountain peaks, traditional Korean architecture, and some tell-tale signs of modern industrialization. The blank white spaces function compositionally as water meandering through the painted passages, whilst the starkness of their contrast with the red areas metaphorically signify the divided and fragmented nature of the land of the artist’s birth. Superficially epic and utopian, the meticulously painted fragments of land are in fact recollections of the artist’s time spend in the de-militarized zone between the North and South, a 4 km wide corridor that has become the largest mined area in the world.
During his military service the artist recalls his time spend in proximity to this zone: “I would wear night vision goggles, which coated everything in red. The forests and trees felt so fantastic and beautiful. It was unrealistic scenery filled with horror and fear, and with no possibility of entering.”
Despite their political engagement – the paintings combine elements of both the North and South Korean mountains, and employ the deeply symbolic color of red – SeaHyun Lee’s paintings are neither aesthetic essays nor empty political rhetoric. They are primarily deeply personal works that reference the artist’s own sense of the past and its losses. SeaHyun Lee is of course concerned with vanishings; these are paintings of a lost past, of disappearing landscapes and eroded memory.
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