Artist Jiyong Lee values process as much as the final product. His work is a molecular and philosophical investigation of both the self and of the universe that has lent itself to every flawless curve and every trick of light, building structures whose transparent surfaces could not be more richly layered with texture. This deceptive outward simplicity derives particularly from the pieces’ construction from and the intricacy in which they are fitted together. The complexity of these shapes, as well as the illusions they convey depending on the position of lighting, are subtle, and therefore not necessarily immediately apparent to its viewers. Depending on the angle of the light as well as the height to which the piece is viewed from, the color of the sculpture’s surface will shift, transitioning from bold, thick colors to a complete translucence. Lee’s work requires a moment of careful investigation, a sense of patience, for one to become fully aware of its dimensions. His most recent body of work, entitled “Segmentation Series,” will be opening at the Duane Reed Gallery in St. Louis, Missouri, on October 19 with a reception from 5 to 8 PM.
Jiyong Lee works as an assistant professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale where he heads the Glass Program. Known for his infatuation with all things small and biologically-themed, Lee explained in a 2010 interview with the GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet that “my finished work can be compared to meditative note-taking based on my investigations.” During the actual process of creation, Lee begins by building the piece as a solid whole, only to dissect and systematically reassemble it. He states that a significant portion of his work has been influenced by “images found in biology textbooks and laboratories.”
Lee’s newest work continues to bridge the space between scientific and artistic, defying the seemingly implausible in his own seamless and distinguished style. He presents pieces whose fluid opacity suggests the complex mysteriousness of every element of the universe, from the most microscopic to the most intangible. His collection suggests contradictory simplicity that provides insight into areas outside of the work itself, particularly in the traits of cells, which Lee has been so provoked by and which his pieces have grown to strongly resemble. Lee’s work suggests that, whether microscopic or hyperbolic, artificial or natural, scientific or artistic, the uniting factor in every existing element of the universe is the prevailing unknown, the unanswered questions and the space yet to be explored, which is precisely what enables its beauty.
IF YOU GO:JiYong Lee “Segmentation Series” October 19 – December 8th, 2012 (reception October 19th, 5 – 8 PM) Duane Reed Gallery 4729 McPherson Ave. St. Louis, Missouri 63108 Tel: 314.361.4100 Website: www.duanereedgallery.com