John Lees, ‘Portrait’, 1972, Betty Cuningham

About John Lees

For John Lees, the imagery in his paintings characteristically comes out of his past: the courtyard at the Otis Art Institute (where he went to art school), his childhood house in Denville, or or his favored tenor sax. He has an extraordinary working method: he spends years, sometimes decades, making his drawings and paintings, building up impastos of pigment so thick that they add a third dimension to his works. He continually adds to and breaks down the surface of his paintings to create what he calls “a sense of presence.” Lees work is about time: the time within the painting and the time outside the painting.

American, b. 1943, Denville, New Jersey, based in New York State