Lee meticulously arranges individual grains to create abstract canvases that resemble otherworldly landscapes.
Hollis Taggart is pleased to announce Fields of Vision, an exhibition of new and recent work by the New York-based, South Korean multimedia artist Hayoon Jay Lee. Using rice as her primary medium, Lee meticulously arranges individual grains to create abstract canvases that resemble otherworldly landscapes. Featuring 28 wall reliefs and sculptures by Lee, Fields of Vision is the most comprehensive exhibition of the artist’s work to date. The exhibition will be on view from January 5 through February 4, 2023, with an opening reception on Thursday, January 5, from 5-8PM. A special performance by the artist will take place on Thursday, January 19, at 6:30PM.
Featuring works from the last ten years of her practice, Fields of Vision demonstrates Lee’s tremendous creativity in pushing the boundaries of the basic nutritional staple. By embracing the diversity of the kinds of rice and their tonality, Lee has created an unusual artistic medium that is as impressive visually as it is historically. For Lee, rice is much more than a material: in addition to the significant cultural role it plays in East Asian countries, Lee considers how it relates to life and death, brings people together, and can be used politically. The artist was drawn to rice in part from her experience witnessing widespread hunger while growing up in South Korea, and began to contemplate the seed’s vital importance.
Lee creates her compositions by starting with an intuitive sketch and then layering the support surface with acrylic paint and modelling paste, almost as if creating a topography on her canvases. She then uses tweezers to meticulously arrange the individual grains of rice. Her process is meditative and requires painstaking precision over extremely long periods of time – some of the works in Fields of Vision took months to create. Once she has sculpted the rice, Lee covers the final arrangements with archival quality varnish. The resulting undulating forms at times resemble otherworldly landscapes, and at others, biomorphic forms: the artist is fascinated by internal human anatomy and is inspired by the shapes of organs and blood vessels.
In addition to her rice-based sculptural practice, Lee is known for her intimate and interactive performances which often subtly address the cultural, social, and political impact of rice. Her highly cathartic performances blend Korean traditions, spirituality, and avant-garde movement. Details of Lee’s performance at Hollis Taggart will be announced in January.
Born in Daegu, South Korea, Hayoon Jay Lee obtained both a BFA and MFA in sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Among other awards, Lee received a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship award (2008) from the U.S. Department of Education and a Full Fellowship Artist in Residency Award (2012) from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Her work is in the collections of the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ), Gwangju Contemporary Museum of Art (Gwangju, Korea), and the Henan Museum (Zhengzhou, China).
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