February 28, 2014  |  Uncategorized

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One of the funnest & funniest current shows capable of lifting snowbound New Yorkers’ spirits out of a suicidal, Polar Vortex-inspired funk is painter Austin Lee‘s “OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK, Painting is a Strange Thing to do but so is Everything Else,” currently on view at Postmasters Gallery until March 8th.

Austin Lee’s paintings are familiar, yet strange, otherworldly, yet immersive. While they are often figurative, there is a level of abstraction that takes the simplest and most recognizable of forms into another space, disassociated from the tangible. We find ourselves looking at figures, shapes, and colors that hover between the opposing forces from which they are brought forth, namely, the physical and the digital, representative and abstract, graphical and human. These binaries become fluid through the contrasting qualities that comprise Lee’s paintings: stark and supple, opaque and lucid, stable and fleeting.

Lee often begins his process by using an iPad to make digital drawings. Drawing, perhaps one of the quickest ways for an artist to translate a thought into something visual, is made almost immediate by sketching with the iPad. Drawing and erasing become swiping and undoing, enabling the ability to endlessly render and alter images. This method of working is inherently more visceral than analog drawing techniques, in that the hand is actually freer, unrestrained, and spontaneous, yielding entirely expressive results from what seem to be the simplest of lines. Mistakes, chance, and the accidental thus become central to Lee’s playful and curious explorations on and through the screen, and subsequently on canvas.

With an MFA from Yale, it’s clear that Lee could be creating much more somber, serious work, but luckily for us, he’s not quite through embracing his inner child or at the very least, his inner childishness…








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