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IN-YEON
5 June - 29 June 2019

This June, Artereal Gallery is proud to present a solo exhibition of new paintings by Australian-based, Korean artist Hyun-Hee Lee. 

Fate, Destiny, or ’In-Yeon’ in Buddhist philosophy, with its direct and indirect causes has had Hyun-Hee Lee’s life path fetch her up in Sydney many years ago separating her over time and distance from her parents in Korea.

IN-YEON is a chronicle of Hyun-Hee Lee’s powerful and mixed emotional responses around her parents’ visit from Korea to Sydney for four weeks in September 2018 after a decade’s absence. An overwhelming emptiness for the artist followed their leaving.

Writing – whether letters, thoughts, often prayers, and a meditative diary entry made every day, have always been the sources and tools that informed the calligraphic style and marks of her paintings. The poesy of her paintings carries the expression of her emotions at their essence and traces the threads and intricate mesh of the artist’s spiritual and lived lives.

When her parents were in Sydney Hyun-Hee Lee wrote daily in her diary of their doings, of her feelings and responses. After they had left, looking back through that diary allowed her to relive and to honour and emotionally expand their experiences and time together.

Made in the aftermath of her parents’ departure, Emotional Journey is a series of thirty paintings, one for each of their thirty days together in which she mulls over, analyses, keeps alive and re-lives the joys, the anxieties and her regrets.

In her studio, after reading her diary entry for a particular day, the artist copies the text in pencil onto a primed canvas then paints over the whole surface with a colour and gesture expressive of the emotion implicit in the text; leaving her past memories imbedded forever in the under-painting.

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Lee_hyunhee_emotional journey #19_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm

Lee_hyunhee_the letter #2_2019_acrylic on canvas_51x51cm

 

More marks are then overlaid, brushed on in wax, and in oil as well as acrylic paint. The marks are large or small, coloured dark or light relative to the artist’s sensations of being remorseful, “so very happy”, “sometimes more tense, others less“. She is careful to express both her recalled feelings and her immediate responses at the reliving as she paints. Pencil and pastel are scribbled and scratched into wet and onto dry. Erasures, mistakes, re-thinking, going over, re-writing, reflection and correction are all there as evidence of the artist’s angst or elation etched into the paintings’ layers.

A thousand emotions grew from a diary entry on her parents’ departure eve reflecting her mix of feelings in anticipation of the next day. Gratitude and Tolerance further convey the intensity of that time. Painted in the week after they left, both panels express the sorrow confided within her diary of missing her parents and of her being remorseful that she should have, could have, “done better”.

Her mood is lifting some months later when painting Sincerely, a paean made in homage, gratitude and respect for her parents. Warm red and pink hues pervade the painting. Red and pink are the colours of carnations that are linked with life and celebration in Korean culture and is the floral emblem for Parents’ Day celebrated in May in Korea. Light red is emblematic of admiration, dark red of love and affection, with the pink carnation symbolic of a mother’s undying love.

Reflection is a ‘keep-sake’. It is a letter intentionally written by the artist to be un-sent, to allow her to keep its sentiments close and retained in her heart.  The large monochrome summation installation Un-sent letter is a heartfelt, profoundly emotional outpouring painted and drawn into eight paper panels over several campaigns. With its genesis in her unsent letter, the original words are no longer legible for either a Korean or non-Korean speaker but the inherent flood of emotion and angst is raw and laid bare inscribed in white and grey scale onto each black painted sheet in skeletal thin scratchings, strike-throughs, drips, blurs and blotches. In places text is drawn tight and tiny, elsewhere as grand optimistic flourishes with a loaded brush. The inscribed marks map and mirror the private yet universal progress, poignancy and emotive passage of family separation and connection.

Barbara Dowse
Curator

 

 

Additional Information

Upcoming Exhibition

Previous Exhibition

main gallery
Hyun-Hee Lee
5 June - 29 June 2019
Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional journey #19_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Sincerely_2019_acrylic on canvas_152 x 152cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Thaw_2019_acrylic on canvas_152 x 152cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Prologue_2019_acrylic on canvas_152 x 152cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_A thousand emotions_2019_acrylic on canvas_111 x 111cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Reflection_2019_acrylic on canvas_91 x 91cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Gratitude_2019_acrylic on canvas_83 x 83cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Tolerance_2019_acrylic on canvas_81 x 81cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_The letter #1_2019_acrylic on canvas_51 x 51cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_The letter #2_2019_acrylic on canvas_51x51cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Forgotten letter_2019_pencil, charcoal, oil pastel, chalk, gouache on Stonehenge paper_77 x 112cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #1_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #2_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #3_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #4_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #5_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #6_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #7_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #8_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #9_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #10_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #11_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #12_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #13_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #14_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #15_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #16_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #17_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #18_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #19_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #20_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #21_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #22_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #23_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #24_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #25_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #26_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #27_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #28_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #29_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_Emotional Journey #30_2019_acrylic on canvas_31x31cm. Hyun-Hee Lee_IN-YEON_Installation shot by Jessica Maurer. Hyun-Hee Lee_IN-YEON_Installation shot by Jessica Maurer. Hyun-Hee Lee_IN-YEON_Installation shot by Jessica Maurer. Hyun-Hee Lee_IN-YEON_Installation shot by Jessica Maurer. Hyun-Hee Lee_IN-YEON_Installation shot by Jessica Maurer. Hyun-Hee Lee_IN-YEON_Installation shot by Jessica Maurer. Hyun-Hee Lee_IN-YEON_Installation shot by Jessica Maurer. Hyun-Hee Lee_IN-YEON_Installation shot by Jessica Maurer. Hyun-Hee Lee_IN-YEON_Installation shot by Jessica Maurer. Hyun-Hee Lee_IN-YEON_Installation shot by Jessica Maurer. Hyun-Hee Lee_IN-YEON_Installation shot by Jessica Maurer. Hyun-Hee Lee_IN-YEON_Installation shot by Jessica Maurer.