Art Projects International

Art in CultureApril 2, 2006

“Just what is it that makes Il Lee’s art so different, so appealing?” by Erik Bakke

Essay by Erik Bakke for the exhibition brochure IL LEE: New Work.
Reprinted in Art In Culture, April 2006.


Lee’s work can be approached from many directions. The inventiveness of the work suggests the avant-gardes of modernism while its refinement brings to mind a classical approach. Grand themes are developed with assuredness, while details are at once supporting arguments and flights of fancy on which Lee invites the viewer to partake…

How does Lee’s work reach out and change the viewer? In a time when symbols of safety and danger permeate the culture, Lee’s work offers a sophisticated reminder of elemental concerns not couched in advertising slogans. The rhetoric of these works has not been divorced from content. From subtle yet direct grounds to powerful basic forms to lyrical details, all aspects of Lee’s works and their processes are transparent. The viewer is relieved and then empowered to be able to discover for themselves the honesty of the work and its warm and direct, poetic contribution.

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