The Artist and the Tree
Combining a respect for nature with a highly conceptual investigation into image making, Myoung Ho Lee has been photographing the trees of his native Korea since 2006, isolating them from their surroundings through the imposition of a white canvas backdrop. Lee works slowly, observing each tree for four seasons before photographing it. Through digital retouching, he removes evidence of the canvas’s support structure, so that it appears to float unaided behind the tree that it frames. At once deadpan and playful, the resulting photographs highlight the beauty and physicality of the trees, while also flattening them, causing them to appear as unreal, two-dimensional images inserted into the landscape. Through this interplay between nature and artifice, Lee collapses the traditions of portraiture and landscape painting and photography, examining the nature of representation and its effect on nature itself.
South Korean, b. 1975, South Korea