Jaemin Lee Solo Exhibition
Jaemin Lee Solo Exhibition
Gallery Huue, Singapore
@ The Work Project Asia Square
12 Marina View, Asia Square Tower 2, 311-01, Singapore 018961
When I visited Jaemin Lee’s studio last year in Singapore, there were a collection of paintings all organized in one of the large rooms of a condo, which Lee has worked on over the years while raising a child. The artist’s studio is located at a quiet residential neighborhood of Singapore with a large pool in the center surrounding the studio like a resort, and I thought this is a haven for Jaemin Lee where she could focus primarily in her work and be delved into her practice.
After moving to Singapore and living as a mother and wife, Jaemin Lee who was at the time very active in the Korean art market continued painting and did not forget that it is her profession and passion to be an artist even when no one called for her. Should a gallerist visit the studio at any time unintentionally, Lee would always be ready and prepared. Hence, it was not difficult to have a proposal for a solo exhibition as it was clear that her painting continues to develop and expand despite her years of change .Jaemin Lee is an artist who captures and capable of bringing diverse elements of everyday life visually onto her canvases. She expresses emotions of everyday life and moments of experiences from the eyes of a Korean living in a foreign country on her canvases. Her inspiration stems from experiencing and perceiving the nature and the surrounding environments that further affect her to become an artist.
During her school years, Jaemin Lee researched the subject of matière extensively. While studying in Russia, she was particularly inspired by the expressions of realism masters and how they work with the tactile materiality of paints, in which the artist has progressively incorporating and developing the technique into her practice of painting. She also travelled around the country to sketch the sceneries outside alive and investigated the study of figurines in the studios. Based on all these practices, Lee naturally moved onto a new chapter of her story, now living in a new environment called Singapore. With the unfamiliar and yet unique characteristics of Singapore, Lee’s story is currently based on the life in Singapore. Being a stranger again, the artist now creates new stories that are inspired from emotions and experiences in Singapore alongside the changes in life.
In a typical story, the role of the main and supporting characters are often divided. However, paintings by Jaemin Lee provide a stage for everyone who dreams of, not only for the main character. Such moment is a continuous one where the time is yet to be completed and still in the moment of being created while living the artist’s life that is uniquely in each chapter of the stories.
"I wish I could share my thoughts and feelings at that time rather than throwing any intentions to the viewer. For example, in a diving work, the fear of falling into the water and the refreshing feeling that can be felt after that moment. I want to feel it together as much as possible."
Jaemin Lee wants the viewers to "share emotions" and to experience these emotions alongside her works. Numerous layers of oil paints applied on the paintings are consist of the artist’s tactile brushstrokes that repeat the emotional exchange and eventually vanish, but the subtle emotions will continue to remain in the flow of time indefinitely. People sitting or lying down in nature and looking at something, a woman gazing somewhere beyond, and people resting peacefully in an isolated garden as if it is paradise —all depicted figures are demonstrative of the moments and reflections of the artist’s daily routines. Those are the emotions and characters that are instantly captured by Jaemin Lee. Therefore, compared to the figurines from traditional Impressionist painters, Lee's figures have a sense of modern naiveness. In the first place, it is not a work that expresses a noble human being- and because there is no intention to reproduce and reveal everything, Jaemin Lee’s works reminds of traditional paintings but in the way of contemporary painting.
Simply look at Jaemin Lee's painting. Elements of the characters have clear silhouettes but have blurred facial features, distinctive facial expressions but vague emotions, and no concrete expression in response to situation. It guides the viewers actively fill the gaps in life that have disappeared and even enable the viewers to see the painting with the experience, senses, and narratives of the viewer.
It is never easy to draw, evaluate, or be recognized in the contemporary art scenes saturated with a vastness of media and new concepts, but this is not a matter to the artist. The work does not necessarily have to have a profound idea. Jaemin Lee does not think that art should necessarily be like what is mentioned. However, when looking back in time at current works and think about the new, life eventually asks Lee the same question every time: ‘what kind of present do I live in?’ and ‘what do I think and feel?’ With each question, the artist diligently solves the answer by simply painting another work. The result of each chapter is probably what makes the series so far.
Jaemin Lee, who is now in her mid-40s, brings in the practice of ‘painterly painting’- devoting a great amount of time to paint every day in order to capture the sceneries and sketch ideas with the tools around her to simply paint. She developed her painting techniques by practicing with dry painting in which the result of studying brushstrokes and color itself in depth. This is because making a unique language of painting, which is one of the most essential components, identifies and highlights Jaemin Lee as a painter once again.
“I think that experiencing new things is about going beyond unfamiliarity, discomfort, and fear. Beyond that, valuable experiences await. I want you to challenge yourself with life ‘as if you were diving’.”
The message that the artist wants the viewers to take away from her work is that no matter how grand the causes or theories are, if it does not hold up in daily life, it will eventually fade away and the revolution intended for the revolution is more difficult not to fail. It is up to those who create ‘small stories’ to connect with everyday life and explore the path of possibility, resistance, and change without elevating themselves to myths. Through this exhibition ‘Days of My Heaven’, we hope that this provides an opportunity to focus and relive in the artist's ‘small stories’.
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