June 27 - July 26, 2008
Bellas Artes has represented the work of Jingjun Lee since 2000. This summer the gallery will present the third exhibition of the Korean photographer’s work. In 1984 Lee received her BFA in ceramics at Hong-IK University in Seoul. The artist moved to New York City in 1988 and lived there until 1996. During this time she received a master’s degree in photography from New York University and worked as an assistant for photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank.
Lee’s work is unique in the world of photography. She does not mechanically reproduce multiples, but creates each work by hand. She brushes liquid emulsion onto large sheets of handmade rice and mulberry papers. Her brushstrokes sweep across the soft texture of the paper and capture the photographic image, revealing a painter’s sensibility in a gestural dance. Calligraphy, an art form the artist mastered as a young child, resonates through her oeuvre.
The Bellas Artes exhibition will feature photographs from Lee’s Wind Series. Lee writes, “The images in the Wind Series represent my introspective states and thoughts. Out in the field, in the forest, or in the village, I am ready to press the shutter release when the scenery stirs my emotions and imagination. This moment of ‘absolute echo’ within myself travels through infinite time and space. That is, ‘Wind’ becomes my energy of free spirit. Vanishment and transformation. Sadness - yet another change.” She continues, “Wind is invisible and it contains more of inner thoughts than an actual fact or a definition. I don’t try to make my definite direction of wind in my works. That is why I like the title Wind. They are just landscape pictures...”
Lee’s words are reminiscent of a Buddhist belief that the function of the mind depends on a subtle wind. This “vehicle of the mind” flows in all channels of the body, transporting the blood and consciousness for the duration of one’s life. Wind is one of the essential energies that sustains life. We feel this energy in these photographs.
The series was made in a wide panoramic format on gelatin silver coated Korean Hanji paper. The absorbent surface texture of the paper combined with dreamlike images of the natural world and of man’s habitation within it creates the illusion of movement - an imperceptible blur of the motion of internal landscapes transported by a breath both human and cosmic. In the catalogue, Contemporary Korean Photographers: A New Generation, Bohnchang Koo writes that Lee “renders her themes like silent objects, but their silence is like an infinite whispering.” Perhaps he is sensing the subtle wind coursing through her poetic and painterly work.
Lee’s photographs have been exhibited extensively in galleries and museums throughout the United States, Europe, and Korea. In the US, her work is included in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and New Mexico Museum of Art.
On Monday, June 30, three days after the exhibition opens, Lee will be giving a lecture on her work at the Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI), 1600 St. Michael’s Drive. The lecture will be followed by an exhibition in the SFAI gallery of the artist’s work, August 3 - 23.THINGS
May 29 - July 3, 2004
Bellas Artes is pleased to announce its second exhibition for the Korean photographer, Jungjin Lee. Born in Korea in 1961, Lee mastered calligraphy as a child and studied ceramics at Hong - Ik University in Seoul. She lived in New York City from 1988 - 1996 where she absorbed the contemporary art scene and received a master's degree in photography from New York University. During her years as a graduate student, she worked as an assistant for photographer/filmmaker Robert Frank.
Lee's black and white photography has a painterly quality since her prints are not mechanically reproduced multiples, but instead bear the mark of the hand. The artist brushes liquid emulsion onto the surface of massive sheets of handmade rice paper. The texture of the paper and the gestural marks of the brush stroke create a unique, painterly effect.
Lee's exhibition at Bellas Artes will feature her latest series, THINGS. The things are various objects, but the objects only serve as symbolic abstractions to express her feelings. The things float on the white rice paper in order to make the objects separate from reality.
The following critical remarks were published after Lee's last exhibition at Bellas Artes:
Photography has always looked to other arts for ways to bend and stretch its potential. Jungjin Lee refreshes camera work by alluding to ancient disciplines of clay and ink. I have rarely seen pictures that contradict contemporary photographic practice as forcibly as these images do. Made now, they seem always to have existed. Arriving from deep time, they feel immediate. Like a simple Korean tea bowl, their rough insouciance invites touch.
— Eugenia Parry, THE Magazine, June 2002
Since her last exhibition at Bellas Artes two years ago, Jungjin Lee has participated in three important museum exhibitions: "Idea Photographic: After Modernism" at the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, "Crossings 2003: Korea/Hawaii" at The Contemporary Museum in Honolulu and "Leaning Forward, Looking Back: Eight Contemporary Artists from Korea" at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.
Lee's work has been exhibited extensively in galleries and museums in the United States, Europe, and Korea. In the United States, her work has been collected by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe.
Born 1961, Taegu, KoreaEducation: