14 Jul 2020 — 15 Aug 2020
Eunsae Lee
As usual : 늘 마시던 걸로

A painting essentially develops from an image but incorporates more than the initial image. The fluid, primordial state of the image in the mind's eye must manifest into the reality of the outside world. The image must be transposed onto a stable and tangible substrate to be recognized as a work of art, be it on paper or canvas. In a way, the artist is the conduit by which an ephemeral image is materially manifested for the viewing of others.

The usual. You might have heard this, or even used it yourself, frequenting a business and ordering the same thing every time. It could be a dimly lit pub, a coffee shop, or a morning diner. There are certain prerequisites necessary to using "I'll have the usual, please" to desired effect. First, a need for prior visits and iterative communication. Second, enough consistency for the person taking the order to remember what was usual in connection with your person. Artist Eunsae Lee explains that she wanted to paint what she usually enjoyed drawing on paper, but found herself unable to recollect what that was, exactly. Imagine the awkward silence of strolling into your favorite establishment and ordering "the usual" to everyone's bafflement, including yourself.

Lee creates fine imagery which combines photographic imagery and scenes within her mind's eye. Certain aspects are freely removed to maintain a certain desired integrity of her fine imagery. When that desire for the imagery aligns with purpose and aligns with what she finds meaningful, it becomes a painting. This poses a problem: fine imagery created form the artist's figuration becomes somewhat self-defeating when it takes the form of a tangible painting. Only within her mind can fine imagery exist in its pure form, fluidly transmorphic and untethered to form.

The quickest, most effective means to ground fine imagery is drawing. Drawings' state of existence may be described as haphazard, inarticulate, at times exaggerated and distorted, fragile and synthetic. It is a state where both impromptu and thoughtfully premeditated actions may transpire. Drawings exist in an unresolved state that is ambiguous and inconclusiveness, but that is also where potential lies. On the other hand, paintings show conviction; deliberate, careful, and decisive.

Eunsae Lee paintings are the result of numerous drawings which she then reworks digitally to augment lines and colors before transposing unto canvas. Unlike her approach to drawings, Lee approaches painting with a sense of obligation to her original plans. For this exhibition, she focused on narrowing the gap between her initial drawing and final painting, to better define of what it mean to create as usual. Eunsae Lee wanted the canvas to embody a biphasic composition, of perspicuous simplicity and solemn progress.

Eunsae Lee reiterates a singular scene through drawing. Even the most accomplished artists require time and meditation over an object to capture tis essence and detail. The artist's final creation is the outcome of negotiation and compromise. The artist's iterative approach to drawing is the act of more or less approaching to the fine imagery in her mind. So then, what dictates which of those iterations is put on canvas? Lee explains that her choice of drawing is based on what oddly stands out among the numerous iterations. In the relationship between actual objects and images, or between imagination and realized images, our reactions are also multi-varied.

Lee carefully explained that this exhibition placed greater weight on the methodology and medium rather the usual focus on an underlying or overarching theme. As part of the exercise to exploring form and medium painting, Lee has been incorporating airbrush into her works. The airbrush allows broader strokes and diameters than the conventional brush, as well as hyperbolic expressions. For Eunsae Lee, expanding the borders of her artworld entails experimentation in form and medium. Artists are limited by what tools they master and what the medium allows to express. As such, the artist's choice of technique determines and limits the mode of expression, and Lee's aspiration to a mutable yet consummate work is as venturesome as it is meaningful.
As usual at bar, oil and acrylic on canvas, 90.9x72.7cm, 2020