The artwork of John Lee is produced via the practicum of violence, aggression and movement. Lee’s body acts simultaneously as a paint brush, calligraphy brush, and lethal weapon. From mono-chrome canvases which crystallize the impact of shattered glass vessels blown and then filled with paint to mass surfaces which capture a calligraphic chart of John Lee’s break dancing movement, the singular goal of this performative process is to refuse the Western Tradition of canonic painting and to refuse to oppress inner violence.
As a martial artist and break dancer, Lee utilizes the art of breaking as a dance form and the art of breaking objects to create physical manifestations of abstract ideas surrounding the rules of identity and art. Lee uses martial arts to break glass containers with nun chucks and fighting sticks – propelling the shattered bits and pieces onto traditional canvases, creating an imprint of his aggressive inner emotions. Additional to his practice, is the practice of strapping containers of paint to his wrists and ankles while performing break dancing, creating a map of physical calligraphy.
Documented by its indelible place on the canvas and documented through videography, John Lee’s works are a series of moments of honesty locked in time on canvas and paper.