GR gallery is pleased to present ‘Passive. Aggression,’ an exhibition of new paintings by self-taught artist Joseph Lee.
This marks the first solo show of Lee with the gallery after former collaborations, and chiefly the artist’s first public presentation in nearly 3 years. A total of 19 artworks, in various dimensions, executed with his signature technique, will be exhibited for the first time, recording Lee’s fundamental production over last few years in an essentially anthological exhibition.
His highly unique style exposes abstracted portraits that disclose impressions of anatomic details hidden between extra textured layers of paint that contrast with a flat and mostly monochromatic background.
Thursday September 8th, 6:00pm – 8:30pm ET (Exhibition Dates: September 09 – October 1st , 2022). Members of the press can contact GR gallery in advance to schedule a private viewing and/or an interview with the artist before the exhibition is officially open.
Joseph Lee will attend the opening event. Visitors who want to attend the opening can RSVP by contacting the gallery.
‘Passive. Aggression’ documents Lee’s time during 2020 – 2022. As his daily distractions dissipated under lockdown, he was forced to examine gaps, namely his liminality and inability to verbally communicate emotions, which made him unrecognizable to himself and others around him. Lee is both Korean and American, husband and son, actor and painter, passive and aggressive. Lee’s subject matters grapple with the way his liminality and thus, lack of a solid identity, began to impact the world he inhabited. The artist’s first instinct under duress was to isolate and paint. During these years, the process of creating the works showcased in ‘Passive. Aggression’ was a salve. To finish a painting was not the intent. These works capture moments in Lee’s life where he deflected to his studio in fear and uncertainty. At the time of inception, these paintings were the best representations of what words escaped him, to convey – in composition – what he was unable to articulate. They are a line of expression uninterrupted. ‘Passive. Aggression’ is a collection of the artist’s self-reflections, love letters, & apologies translated onto canvas.
Joseph Lee is an artist who has spent years studying faces and the emotion that inhabits them. The beauty in Lee’s work stems from the manipulation of common everyday forms, such as faces or objects, into an array of energetic and forceful expressions. Each segmented brush stroke and application of color converge into a balanced whole.
His work focuses on the parallel between external reality and internal process. Each painting expresses a sense of physical harmony by layering of palette and brush strokes to create a complete and powerful gestural composition. This emphasis on the physicality of paint and stroke, color and volume, creates a unique tension within Lee’s dynamic paintings. The surface presence and confidence in each painterly stroke creates a uniquely uncompromising seductive experience for the viewer through the use of paint. In the age of swiping through social media images, these portraits force viewers to stop, inspect the physical craftsmanship and raw nature of these paintings.
Today, Lee continues creating work to examine the psychology of beings behind their “societal masks.” His portraits channel various observations ranging from pop culture references to the daily people he encounters on the street. In addition to various gallery exhibitions all over the world, Lee has been commissioned by brands such as NIKE & Floyd Mayweather’s TMT for various projects. He has exhibited and sold to major art dealers and collectors in numerous art fairs.