Jane Lee, ‘WING III’, 2015, STPI

Materiality is at the core of these works, where Lee strips paper down to its inherent qualities, experimenting with the manifold textural possibilities of its nature, at once buildable and reducible, to produce results of a remarkable spectrum. From the robust tree trunks in SET ME FREE to the ethereal weightlessness of WINGS, Lee’s works demonstrate the versatility of the medium in their technical rigour, an aspect that is congruent with her usual methodical approach to material and formal properties.

While Lee’s work is meant to encourage viewers to break free or away, these works are also an expression of her own breakthroughs all these years. Trained in formal, classical painting, Lee has taken years to break the two-dimensional boundaries of paint, leading to the three-dimensional strength of her mixed media paintings she has been recognized for. Embarking on this unchartered journey at STPI has been to her a sense of release, granting her new means of creative expression, and the opportunity to confront her processes - in her words, “jump out of the perimeters” that she has created for herself as a painter. “[The work] is about being free,” says curator Tony Godfrey, “Jane wanted to make work that was different from what she normally did. She has not done anything with paint in the show - and if there is paint, as on the side of the acrylic works, it was applied by someone else.”

As curator Tony Godfrey says, “[the work] is about being free. Jane wanted to make work that was different from what she normally did. She has not done anything with paint in the show - and if there is paint, as on the side of the acrylic works, it was applied by someone else.”

About Jane Lee

Jane Lee challenges what qualifies as a painting by using unorthodox materials, tools, and processes in her art. In a recent series of work, Lee approximated the form of a painting but refused to use canvas; instead she presented skeins of monochromatic thread assembled into wall-mounted rectangles and spilled onto the floor. In other works, Lee reduces painting to the gesture of impasto layers stacked in sculptural formations, suggesting painting is merely the application of one color on top of another. “Creating paintings using my hands without relying on other tools is fun. It is easier to be in control and it also allows spontaneous interaction with the paint texture,” she has said. “It has this very naked feeling and it is able to create interesting yet unexpected markings on the canvas.”

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