Art Projects International

The Drawing Center News, The Bottom LineMarch 30, 2010

IL LEE: Small Works 2001-2010 at Art Projects International

We may not all know what it’s like to hold a paintbrush (or haven’t done so since the 4th grade), but most of us can readily conjure the experience of taking notes or doodling with a ballpoint pen. But if you visit Art Projects International, you may have cause to re-think your familiarity with this quotidian writing implement.

Currently on display is a brilliant selection of ballpoint pen drawings by artist Il Lee (b. 1952, Korea) created from 2001–2010. Lee has been creating ballpoint pen drawings for over 30 years, and they continue to dazzle. Black, and in more recent works, blue and red lines form delicate strokes and saturated patches of ink alike, in kinetic reveries on light, movement, and gesture. Lee’s drawings are made in both large and small-scale and span a terrific spectrum of wild, furious, graceful and quiet outpourings of imagination. Grooves and ripples from the pressure of Lee’s hand on the paper and the metallic sheen of multiple layers of ink transform simple paper and pen into physical artifacts of Lee’s mark-making acts. It reminds me that creating art is a physical activity as much as a cerebral one, and that drawing occupies the exact moment in space and time where hand and mind meet.

–Emily Gaynor

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