As part of its Viewing Room programme, Simon Lee Gallery is pleased to present Wormhole a solo exhibition by New York-based artist Leelee Kimmel, her first in the UK. In her latest work, Kimmel presents a series of large-scale abstract paintings that are confrontational in both colour and dimension, exploring themes of creation and destruction. The immersive element of her work is further developed through sculptural pieces and a five-minute Virtual Reality work that invites total submergence into the deep space of Kimmel’s creative world.
The large-format paintings feature graphic shapes clustered in thick multilayered pools of bright acrylic paint, which weave across fields of solid white or black. The paintings are imbued with a restless energy and freedom that is intrinsically linked with how the artist creates her works. The resulting compositions deliberately move in and out of representation, sensuous and strict, gloss and matte, tangled and full. The complex patchwork of imagery, consisting of crosshatch and opposing vector-like lines and patterns as well as interrupting biomorphic forms, has an otherworldly quality. Forceful and nervous lines are reminiscent of artists such as Basquiat and Twombly, while the uncanny worlds and dreamlike atmospheres created by the artist emerge into a sort of mutant realism.
Alongside the paintings, Kimmel presents 3D printed sculptures that have been manipulated and painted. A natural progression from the paintings, the biomorphic objects appear to have leapt out of the canvases and exist as living, breathing organisms or planets within the gallery space. In the adjoining gallery, she continues the journey through her constructed landscape by presenting a virtual reality facet to the exhibition that takes us on a five-minute uplifting voyage into the fictional worlds of her paintings. As in her two-dimensional works, in Wormhole (2018) colourful shapes and forms float like galaxies in a black expanse.