Home Magazine Harmonizing Emotional and Physical Realities: The Artistry of Kyong Lee

Kyong Lee's Artistic Alchemy: Navigating Emotional Landscapes through Color, Form, and Chance.

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Kyong Lee, a Korean abstract artist currently residing and working in Seoul, weaves together the physical and emotional spheres into her artworks through color, material, process, and form.

Having earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Hong-ik University in Seoul, Korea, in 1991, Lee deepened her artistic journey by pursuing a Master's degree at the University of Fine Arts in Braunschweig, Germany, in 2000. Between 2001 and 2002, she gained recognition through the famous SSamzieSpace Studio Residence Program in Seoul, Korea.

Lee's artistic technique is rooted in precision, where the meticulous selection and blending of colors play a pivotal role. Devoting many hours of work and research to her color choices, she employs a methodical process of building up, layering, and accumulating paint to create her graded color paintings. Each layer is applied over a period of time and allowed to rest before the next is added, capturing the intricate relationship between colors and moments. Some of Lee's pieces embraces text. First, the artist embosses the words she has selected for the artwork onto the surface. Then, she applies a hue on top, creating a collaborative interplay between language and color. The color occupies the word and fills all the space around it. For Lee, this process is not only integral to the meaning of her work but also imbued with poetic significance.

Responding to her emotional experiences within her physical surroundings, Lee considers color as her primary visual language. Colors, for her, are not merely pigments but representations of emotional states, feelings, and the natural processes of life. The flow of time and life experiences emerge as the predominant themes in her art. Memory, a crucial element, intrigues her, as she explores the alterations made to her perceptions of the past over time. Lee also delves into automatism, establishing connections between words and colors through unconscious processes.


Kyong Lee. Emotional Color Change 34, 2023. Courtesy of IdeelArt

In her "Emotional Color Change" series, Lee merges color and language to visually depict the external environment. Beginning with the mixing of a range of colors on canvas, she transitions from one hue to another using different color fields. She personally inscribed the names of the colors on the side of the canvas. Lee draws inspiration from Umberto Boccioni's State of Mind Series. Her goal is to convey calmness amongst the chaotic sea of emotions. The horizontal color fields and the fluid transitions symbolize the organic process of changing one's state of mind.

Kyong Lee.Perfect Coincidence 4, 2023. Courtesy of IdeelArt

Another noteworthy series by Lee is titled "Perfect Coincidence", born from a spontaneous desire for chance, reminiscent of Jean Arp's technique. Characterized by randomness and the free dripping of colors on paper, this series gives rise to sensual forms through an unplanned dance of colors. Each piece is unique, showcasing the intuitive movements of the artist, the vibrant spectrum of her palette, and the ever-present element of chance. In these works, accidental drips and splashes become central subjects, illustrating the perfect coincidence where sensation, hue, and happenstance intertwine in a harmonious dance.

Cover image: Kyong Lee. Perfect Coincidence 20, 2023. Courtesy of IdeelArt

Written by: Asia Artom

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