Art News

New Paintings in Black by Lee Bae at Andrew Shire Gallery

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Pierre Soulages has made the point often: it is not black that interests him, but the way black causes the light to react, the way it projects it in front of the canvas so that it changes as we move around it. The same goes for Lee Bae, but the other way round: what interests him is not the white or cream spaces, even though they are immediately visible, but the powerful contrast they afford with the black continents painted in his works. From the beginning of his career, black has been Lee Bae’s principal subject. A black that recalls his Asian origins – Indian ink, calligraphy – and that he first explored using wood charcoal, a substance that is itself highly characteristic of Korean culture. After ten years of working with wood charcoal, Lee Bae began replacing it with bamboo charcoal which, when mixed first with water and then with acrylic medium, is even darker and denser.