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Jivan Lee New Mexico: New Landscape Paintings “[T]he moment I saw the brilliant, proud morning shine up over the deserts of Santa Fe, something stood still in my soul.…There was a certain magnificence in the high-up day, a certain eagle-like royalty.…In the magnificent fierce morning of New Mexico one sprang awake, a new part of the soul woke up suddenly.…” D.H. Lawrence, “New Mexico” (1928)

Gazed at long enough, the amalgamation of color, forms and shapes in nature inspire the senses—indeed,

they awaken the soul as Lawrence so poetically observed—and they can have a profoundly transformative effect. Perhaps it is a primal connection with the land, a kind of elegiac cellular memory, that inspires the senses of awe and longing that nearly always accompany looking at a sunset, gazing across a fruited plain, contemplating a rushing stream or quiet pond, beholding jagged ridges of soaring mountains, or peering into the beckoning mysteries of verdant woods. From these things America the Beautiful is made—and the gift of awe is conferred. It is here, in this anatomy of nature, that Henry David Thoreau, philosopher and poet, observed the possibility to “live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.” Jivan Lee’s remarkable oil paintings on canvas resonate this exhilaration for living fully and for exalting in the midst of the land’s extraordinary beauty. At age 31, with a mind as sharp as the crisp air of the brilliant New Mexico mornings he routinely heads out to paint in, Lee creates extraordinary scenes of the Land of Enchantment, rendered in thick paint and lush color applied with tools of executant power: spatulas, bare hands and broad brushes. Primarily a plein-air painter, Lee journeys into the New Mexico countryside and comes out with heavily impastoed tableaus of its landscape that look as though they have been ripped with raw spontaneity from the vistas he sits before to paint each day. Leavened only by a disciplined consistency of artistic vision, Lee’s remarkable oil paintings reflect his delight in the midst of this land’s beauty. Lee’s surfaces are composed with copious amounts of weighty oil paint laid out in patterns of gracefully arching trails and muscular geometric forms, producing luminous reverberations rather than literal depictions of the land’s majesty. In their opulent textures, his surfaces assume the felt sensations of earth, rock, water and sky. The lustrous lighting effects he captures arise from the convergence of Lee’s keen eye, technical ability and resolute insistence on being present in the locations he chooses to paint. These effects ignite from

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Jivan Lee - New Mexico: New Landscape Paintings  
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