Art Projects International

IL Lee: New Work

Installation view of IL LEE: New Work at Art Projects International, New York, 2006.

IL LEE, BL-060, 2005, ballpoint pen on canvas, 84 x 144 inches (214 x 366 cm)

IL LEE, BL-054, 2005, ballpoint pen on canvas, 72 x 68 inches (182.9 x 172.7 cm)

IL LEE, BL-070, 2006, ballpoint pen on canvas, 45 x 60 inches (114.3 x 152.4 cm)

IL LEE, BL-071, 2006, ballpoint pen on canvas, 75 x 115 inches (190.5 x 292.1 cm)

IL LEE, BB 04-E, 2004, ballpoint pen and acrylic on canvas, 48 x 68 inches (121.9 x 172.7 cm)

IL LEE, BL-065, 2005, ballpoint pen on paper, 39 x 31 inches (99.1 x 78.7 cm)

IL LEE, BL-072, 2006, ballpoint pen on canvas, 42 x 36 inches (106.7 x 91.4 cm)

IL LEE, BL-062, 2005, ballpoint pen on paper, 60 x 52 inches (152.4 x 132.1 cm)

Art Projects International (API) is pleased to announce IL LEE: New Work. This important survey features Il Lee’s most recent ballpoint pen works on canvas and paper. These ambitious works include Lee’s largest ballpoint pen work to date, a twelve foot long blue ink on canvas tour de force.

The ballpoint pen works on canvas and paper on display in the exhibition reveal an artist at the height of his abilities, working with mastery and experimenting in his signature ballpoint pen media. He attacks the large surfaces of these new works with a vigor and rigor commensurate with the scale of the works. The monumental forms emerging in these recent works seem at once grand and immutable and in flux. The ballpoint pen on canvas BL-60 is the largest work in the exhibition at 84 x 144 inches. A horizon line spans the canvas and defines the solid mass of indistinguishable lines beneath it. The form, though, as no bottom edge and trails off into a sea of tangled, and then individually discernible, lines. Here Lee uses the size of the work to great advantage. What must be form dissolves into line; what suggests landscape turns to abstraction; what appears monumental is finally understood one blue ballpoint pen stroke at a time. BL-60, like Lee’s other works on canvas, has a powerful presence and authority that viewers will find well compliments the intimacy of the works on paper.

Long time viewers of Lee’s art will notice a new direction in his creation of forms and a shift in hue from black to blue. Curves and angles have become more complicated. Shapes vibrate more strongly; some seem at ready to hurriedly twist off of the canvas. BL-62 has an aggressively off kilter, knife sharp edge which is boldly set off from the tilting form’s other sides through the use of one of Lee’s classic approaches—an overlaying of energetically drawn pen lines creates enough density to form what are at once edges and areas of swirling lines. BL-70 is a cropped diamond barely holding shape as ballpoint pen lines escape its form—one can imagine the violent passage of a comet’s tale caught in cross section. In further offerings of new forms BL-72 features a triangular shape floating unanchored that, in pleasing contradiction, seems to lead to unfathomable depths. This triangle appears again in the work BL-71, another large work in the exhibition, amongst a field of numerous dynamic forms. These forms and the spaces between them are defined by line-making of extreme and active inventiveness, suggesting entities jostling one another in a high energy state.

Born in Seoul, Korea, Il Lee lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He received his B.F.A. from Hong-Ik University in Seoul and his M.F.A. from Pratt Institute in New York. Recent exhibitions include: Paris-New York: IL LEE, Galerie Gana-Beaugourg, Paris, France (2005); Next Next Art, curated by Dan Cameron, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY (2004); IL LEE: New Drawings and Paintings, Art Projects International, New York, NY (2004); Open House: Working in Brooklyn, curated by Charlotta Kotik and Tumelo Mosaka, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY (2004); Marking: Drawings by Contemporary Artists from Korea, The Korea society, New York, NY (2003); and New Acquisitions, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea (2002).

Currently, several works of Il Lee are on view at the San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA until May 14, 2006. Upcoming exhibitions include a solo exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Art in 2007.

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