September 12 - September 27, 2016
Lilac Gallery New York is pleased to present “Composed Landscapes” a solo exhibition of works by Lee Kwan Woo, from September 12 - September 27, 2016.
By bringing the many into one, yet never losing the shining clarity of each individual, artist Lee Kwan Woo makes a statement that goes beyond art and speaks directly to his view of life. Lee is a talented Korean artist who combines ancient tools and contemporary vision to create complex works of art that carry many layers of meaning. His Korean heritage is stamped on each work, yet the most fundamental message of his art is universal. Kwan Woo creates paintings that are not made of paint. His two-dimensional surfaces are actually not flat at all.
All yet, it is difficult to describe them as sculpture. His elemental forms are at once unique and representative of mass production. A harmonious form of contradiction seems to be the artist's chosen environment. Lee's works are composed of stamps. Each stamp carries a word or a pictograph or just a design of the artist's concept. The stamps are placed, in an uneven, undulating layer, across a flat surface. Some just out, some receded. They create fields and waves when seen at a distance. As a forest is composed of trees, and an ocean of infinite drops of water, so Lee's constructions achieve completion by the accumulation of many. Stamps have been used in Asian society for centuries. Like our signatures, they represent the individual whose name is contained in them. And, as signatures, they carry weight. Legal, social and sealed by stamps. They declare "this is me, and this is my intent." In themselves, they can be beautiful, artful objects. Asian stamps have acquired a poignancy in recent decades as they have become anachronistic and abandoned.
Lee describes how moved he was when, many years ago, he "discovered seals among the trash and debris left behind in some empty or deserted home." Realizing that each of those seals bore vestiges of lives they represented and what loss of history and rich heritage would vanish when the trash was collected and removed, he reclaimed them and made them his new medium. After having worked on these pieces for mare than a quarter of a century, Lee has left behind those original wooden stamps and now creates individual stamps of his own design, fashioned from 21st-century materials, like resin.