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THE POWER OF THE BRUSH LEE JUNG WOONG Lee Jung Woong’s paintings empower his paintbrushes with a life of their own. Cleverly conceptual, his works realistically depict elegant Oriental brushes caught in the act of making an abstract mark in black ink on a field of crisp, white Korean rice paper. The hand that made the mark, or that may have once held the brush, is invisible; instead the viewer is offered a meditation between the brush and its expressive action. Lee’s works from his ongoing series are simply titled Brush, but the relationship between figure and ground in the individual pieces varies immensely. Ink, paper, brush, and paint are involved in a poetic dialogue. Calligraphy is referenced, but his marks do not convey any particular alphabet or symbols. The action is an abstract gesture : a splatter, splotch, stroke, or allover field of ink on paper. Above or near the gesture is the realistic portrayal of a traditional Oriental paintbrush – its animal hair still wet with ink. As true to life as a color photograph of a brush left on a drawing, Lee’s surreal still-live pack a potent philosophical punch. Although the subject is Asian in nature, the means of representation are definitely Western. The act of art making and the stilled performance of that act are what we are offered to view.

Lee, who was born in the southeastern Korean province of Gyeongsangbuk-do in 1963, studied western painting at Keimyung University in Daegu. He has exhibited his work for more than 20 years and has had 24 solo shows in South Korea. A member of the Korean Fine Arts Association, Lee is a master of illusionism. His mastery of trompe l’oeil – or a trick of the eye style of painting where he depicts the brush as a three-dimensional object sitting on the paper, is moving. In contrast to the loose ink brushwork of the ground, the brush doesn’t reveal a single stroke of how it was portrayed. Lee captures a moment in time; a metaphysical moment that seems dreamlike.

Paul Laster Editor, and NY Desk Editor, ArtAsiaPacifit

FOREWORD When I first saw Lee Jung Woong’s works, I was highly impressed by the visual simplicity and magnitude of his art. Just as his paintings emanate a subtle yet powerful influence with the minimal usage of colors, I was not surprised by the quiet and gentle spirit the artist himself exuded. He has never failed to astound me with the fascinating subject of the brush and ebony ink, using the contrast of highly-popular Western oil paint on traditional Korean rice paper. Lee’s works have also been exhibited in public venues such as the Seoul City Art Museum and the Gyeonggi-do Art Museum in Seoul, Korea. Employing clear and astounding precision, Lee brings the brush to hyper-realistic life with gleaming, patterned wood and porcelain, soft and complying brush hairs, and most importantly – visible evidence of motion through the depicted

bleed and swipe of ink on paper. The ink traces of his subjects are at times violent and splattering, calm and forward in direction, still and spreading, always leaving one to imagine how the brush had once danced upon the canvas. I am most pleased to present you Korean artist Lee Jung Woong’s latest works as part of his continued “Brush” series, and hope you enjoy his art as immensely as I do. Let your imagination take flight. Within your mind’s eye, retrace each stroke of the hand that holds the brush – and you will discover infinite motion in the stillness of his amazing works.

Jazz Chong Director, Ode To Art

BRUSH 2011




BRUSH 2009



Lee Jung Woong’s paintings empower his paintbrushes with a life of their own.

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