December 3-31, 2008
Reception: Sunday, December 7, 3-5 p.m.

LA ARTCORE at Union Center for the Arts
120 Judge John Aiso Street, Los Angeles CA 90012
(213) 617-3274
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Gallery hours: Wednesdays - Sundays 12- 5 p.m.

Yunsun Lee, detail of “Russian Thistles”, triptych 35” x 43” each, prints on silk with thread

A graduate of the prestigious Seoul National University’s College of Fine Arts and the San Francisco Art Institute, Los Angeles artist Yunsun Lee opens this much anticipated show - her second in the  “Weeds” series. The work is complex and beautiful and represents Lee’s unique approach to both painting and printmaking. For many years Lee has braved to walk that blurry line between representational and abstract work.  Her new work is equally amorphous vacillating between the certainties of its identifiable plant images and the equally powerful abstractions of large organic shapes and monochromatic panels.
Her gift of choosing and combining innovative materials to create a radical but soothing effect has not left Yunsun Lee in this latest effort. “Weeds” is an array of small and large pieces on both canvas and wood panels that show a steady evolution, during the last five years, to a new stage of sophistication once more to the delight of her recent audiences both domestic and overseas.
The process used in creating the new images of distant landscapes and full-screen plant close-ups is characteristically original and yet fundamentally simple.  Lee gathers weeds of all types and sizes from Wyoming to Bangkok, photographs them, alters them digitally in her fantastical way and then through a unique technique prints each singular image on her old-fashion press, rolling the heavy iron wheel with her entire petite but powerful frame. These starkly bordered images on fine Asian paper are then applied and glued to prepared surfaces.  The coup-de-grace is the final brush-application of paint over the paper and the entire surface. Somewhat different but equally interesting are her printed fabric pieces mounted on stretcher bars. Into the fabric are woven hanging strands that give these pieces a unique tapestry-like dimension.
The finished pieces are various size diptychs or single panel works that display images of weeds and weed parts in unusually attractive patterns. Either we are given small wind-swept plants that are perfectly positioned in mysterious arid fields, or we are facing a myriad of weed stems and leaves that fill the entire surface in a strange sheltering mass.  The diptychs are mostly horizontally stacked with a distinct sense of what is above the earth and what is a kind of underworld.  The single pieces are a very cohesive representations of plant life-forms somewhat obscured with overcoats of warm paints that give the feeling of protected and preserved objects.
If an artist’s work is to be judged by the effort spent on each piece, then Yunsun Lee’s work has much merit. But technique, as interesting as it is, may not be Lee’s most important message. She is an artist who has learned through her own sensitivities and her own struggles to appreciate the temporal aspects of life. Recent events have transformed this artist from what she calls a more “confrontational” disposition to a more “communal” spirit. Her work reflects a certain retreat from the foreground spiritually. Her earlier pieces often in dark browns tend to have a heavier feel projecting from the canvas. Her “Weeds” series is more centered with new depth and a cohesive composition that brings the eye into the wide sand colored fields or the thick striations of stems and leaves. This second part of the “Weeds” series is a very satisfying display of well controlled and inspiring work.

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