Hyun Joung Lee’s work reflects her childhood memories in South Korea, her studies in fine arts at Sejong University in Seoul, and her goldsmith training in Paris. She developed her own artistic language and techniques while working with traditional Korean materials, including Hanji, ink, and pigments.
Made from the inner bark of Mulberry trees, the hand-made paper called Hanji is famously known for its strength and ability to be used for multiple purposes. They say that its origins can be traced back over 2000 years. Hanji making is an integral part of Lee’s artistic vision as it requires a long process comprising of numerous steps, and the artist’s meticulous care end to end. Instead of flattening the paper, Lee lets the random embossed design to appear. She uses her brush to create patterns of lines to emphasize or to impede the natural relief of the paper. By way of her own body’s movements she creates a rhythm, without a structured plan.
Just as a scent can bring back memories of a certain moment, so Lee’s paintings, which she calls paths, can awaken the history buried in each of us, and involve us in a personal and spiritual journey. Each line is seen as a day, or an instant we have already lived through or that we are still living in.
Lee’s paintings chime with the paths of our lives and the aim of the artist is indeed unveiled by the names she gives to her works. But her paths might also be imaginary landscapes which are made up of deep forests, dunes, and waterscapes. The way we are perceiving Lee’s paintings depends on our own inner world and imagination. Therefore, one can look at them without getting tired of looking.
Recently Lee became interested in sculpture while still creating her paintings. Lee’s works have been shown internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions.