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The Solo Exhibition of Lee, Kwan-Woo

Able Fine Art NY Gallery
511 West 25th Street, Suite 507, 212-675-3057
September 1 - September 24, 2011
Reception: Thursday, September 8, 6 - 8 PM
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Able Fine Art NY gallery is pleased to present the most recent work by Lee, Kwan-Woo in his first solo show in New York City. Lee, Kwan-Woo is recognized as one of the most popular and influential contemporary artists in Korea. The exhibition features large-scale mixed media paintings whose pixilated surface is constructed out of traditional Korean seals and stamps that develop into undulating, relief-like surfaces. Lee’s use of stamps has been described as allegories of memory, intrinsically linked to time, life and nature.

In the series titled, “Condensed,” Lee, Kwan-Woo combines hundreds of tiny stamps and seals of various shapes and sizes, each uniquely carved in the traditional Korean style, into large-scale pieces such as the figure of Buddha, and abstract compositions. The engravings and symbols of stamps carry a sense of personalized identity, personhood, and great emotional and historical weight that by plainly laying them on the canvas without the pressure of trying to create a particular image, he is able to compose a natural rhythm. He needs not to force a story or composition for the antiquity of the stamps trace them all. Only then can we see the metaphor of name, memory and time to the human mind connected with the copied seal of transparent material which out of the matter reappear. Reflecting on the traditional use of Korean seals to officiate documents and works, Lee, Kwan-Woo also raises questions about issues of identity and authenticity in the post-industrial digital world. As art critic Jill Conner states: “It is currently unknown what trace of any global society will look like in the future now that the preservation of documentation is mostly digital. Lee, Kwan-Woo focuses on the historic displacement of the cultural seal-stamp wrought by computer technology.”

(Lee, Kwan-Woo was born in Gwacheon, South Korea. He studied art at Kwandong University, where he majored in Western Painting. His works have been exhibited in various solo and group shows in Korea, such as Insa Art Center Gallery, Gallery Soo, and Kwan-Hun Gallery. He has also participated in a number of Art Fairs including KIAF in Seoul, Korea, the Salon des Artistes INDEPENDANTS at the Grand Palais in Paris, France, the Peking Art Fair in Peking, China, and Artexpo New York in New York, America.)
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