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The Wordless Poem: Boucher to Lee

Feb 17 - Apr 16, 2017

Keunmin Lee
Shin Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of The Wordless Poem: Boucher to Lee, a group exhibition of figurative drawings, on view at the gallery’s project space (66 Orchard St.) from February 17 – April 16, 2017.

The exhibition consists of a conversion of the project space’s interior into a faux, multi-temporal artists’ studio, ripe with an assortment of tools, utensils, and objects associated with art practices from varying periods and movements. Works will not only align with the types of objects displayed but will inevitably clash with the diverse practices and cultures presented. This type of forced encounter presents the wide range of works to viewers in a new, critical light.

The Wordless Poem features a selection of works spanning three centuries, focusing on the intrinsic yet often inconspicuous nature of drawing in art. In the present, artists continue to explore the upper bounds of radical artistic practices, often experimenting with new styles and mediums in order to satisfy the rapidly-evolving tastes of the fine art world. In the midst of the chaos and competition, the exhibition attempts to present, discuss, and remind the viewer of the fundamental concepts regarding art—that simply a sheet of paper and graphite (or any rudimentary mark-making tool) can be transformed into a masterpiece; that sometimes seemingly basic drawings can produce more significant, dramatic effects on contemporary audiences.

François Boucher’s early-18th century drawing, The Death of Meleager (the basis for his painting of the same title, part of LACMA’s collection), acquires a sense of ethereality through delicate strokes of chalk and ink, reinforcing the melancholy of the narrative depicted. Over a century later, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s La pierreuse Gabrielle reflects his approach to capturing ‘truth rather than the ideal’, illustrated through the distinct psychological acuity of his portraiture; Gabrielle’s hardened features and stony, almost suspicious gaze bespeak a life of difficulty. In the mid-20th century, Marisol’s Untitled exhibits her varied influences behind a haunting yet eerily humorous façade of graphite and crayon. As we shift to the present, Keunmin Lee’s drawings are often an extension of and curiosity with his past diagnosis with borderline personality disorder; his fluid, graphite lines hinge on the surreal through compositions of humanoid subjects intimating proclivities that are not completely foreign to the human experience. In essence, The Wordless Poem unites a wide range of work in order to reiterate and provide an opportunity to fully appreciate the genre of simplicity, evoking the larger impact that simplicity holds.

Artists in the exhibition include François Boucher, François Bonvin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Cezanne, Oscar Kokoschka, Joan Collette, Gustav Klimt, Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, Marisol, and Keunmin Lee.