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picture of Jane Lee, Melt II, 2016, acrylic paint, heavy gel on fiberglass
Jane Lee, Melt II, 2016, acrylic paint, heavy gel on fiberglass, 70.9 x 59.45 x 3.2 inches/180 x 151 x 8 cm

Jane Lee
'Cutting-Edge'

Sundaram Tagore

Art Basel Hong Kong 2017

March 2017

Sundaram Tagore Gallery will present a selection of new work by noted Singapore artist Jane Lee at Art Basel Hong Kong 2017. This presentation comprises a curated mix of paintings and installations produced exclusively for the fair.

The work in this presentation builds on Lee’s interest in examining and reworking the structural elements of a painting. She investigates the material deconstruction of paint—scooping and gouging the surface texture of thickly caked paint to reveal the heart of the artwork, leaving behind colorful swirling holes and chasms across a previously smooth and unblemished façade. Lee utilizes new textures, colors and dimensional scale never before explored within this aesthetic.

Within a suite of six sculptural paintings (Melt I – VI), Lee uses basic tools and her bare hands to manipulate and massage paint until it coalesces into lush undulating swathes across the planar surface of the work. Lee also speckles paint into fine bouquets and ridges, which resemble small, colorful galaxies clustered into the corners of the artwork. These works reveal Lee’s renewed experimentations with the sensorial impact created by primary colors, with vivid shades of scarlet juxtaposed against layers of creamy white, or deep cobalt segueing into lapis lazuli and navy hues.

The installation also includes two large-scale, site-specific works that reflect the artist’s consideration of the total environment of an artwork, rather than restricting herself to the physical limitations of a single canvas plane. She will present a dynamic, wall-mounted installation fabricated from a massive slab of white paint, whose center portion appears to be slowly melting and unfurling from the wall into elaborate drapes and folds. A second installation comprises hundreds of paint-filled ceramic eggs suspended from the ceiling in a circular formation. Hovering just above the central floor space, with paint overflowing from the eggs pooling on the ground, it evokes a visual and tactile experience while exploring the baser substances of what constitutes an artwork.

This presentation will be Sundaram Tagore Gallery’s first major showcase in Asia of Jane Lee’s work since her solo exhibition 100 Faces (Sundaram Tagore Singapore, 2014). It will trace her artistic development during the intervening three years, revealing new, challenging and evolved visual forms, providing a cohesive engagement with space, material, and texturally, retaining the boldness and freshness of vision which Lee has become known for.

About the Artist

Singapore-based artist Jane Lee is best known for her inventive techniques and innovative use of materials. She explores the very nature of the way paintings are constructed by treating the components of a painting—stretcher, canvas, and the paint itself—in new ways.

The surfaces of her paintings are highly tactile and sensuous, often dimensional enough to be considered wall-based sculptures. In some cases, Lee dispenses with canvas altogether extruding acrylic paint directly onto wooden stretchers, which results in a hollow, three-dimensional object, with the paint at the bottom seemingly giving in to gravity. Many of her works appear to move: they fall, unroll, hang or slide suggesting, in the process, everyday objects (a hose, a carpet, a window).

Operating in a post-colonial Southeast Asian context, Lee re-examines the significance of Western painting practices while asserting her own culture. Pushing the boundaries of the medium, her work echoes the breakdown of cultural barriers in the era of globalization and affirms the universality of contemporary art.

Lee first came to critical attention in 2008, when her monumental installation Raw Canvas was featured in the Singapore Biennale curated by Fumio Nanjo. The installation was shown again in 2009 at the Vilnius Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, Lithuania, as part of the Code Share: 5 Continents, 10 Biennales, 20 Artists exhibition curated by Simon Rees. Since then, Lee’s work has been showcased in Collectors’ Stage at the Singapore Art Museum in 2011 and in the Southeast Asia Platform, a curated exhibition of cutting-edge work organized by region, at Art Stage Singapore in 2014. Lee was a highlight of the yearlong exhibition Medium At Large (2014–2015), at the Singapore Art Museum, where her large-scale wall-mounted installation Status was acquired for the museum’s permanent collection. In 2015, Lee’s work was selected for Prudential Singapore Eye, one of the largest surveys of Singapore’s contemporary art to date, held at the ArtScience Museum and in the same year, she participated in Frontiers Reimagined, an exhibition of global art and an official Collateral Event of the 56th Venice Biennale.

Jane Lee has won numerous awards, including a Celeste Prize for painting in 2011. She was a finalist for the 2007 Sovereign Asian Art Prize and was the first recipient of the Singapore Art Exhibition International Residency Prize in 2007. Lee has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a diploma in fashion from LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore. She has participated in numerous exhibitions in museums and galleries in Asia and Europe, among them the Hong Kong Arts Centre and the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, Lithuania. Following a residency at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Lee debuted a solo exhibition of works there, Freely, Freely, in 2016.

About the Gallery

Sundaram Tagore Gallery, with locations in New York, Singapore and Hong Kong, is devoted to examining the exchange of ideas between Western and non-Western cultures. The gallery was the first to focus exclusively on the rise of globalization in contemporary art. We represent painters, sculptors and photographers from around the globe. They each work in different mediums and use diverse techniques, but share a passion for cross-cultural dialogue. The gallery is renowned for its support of cultural activities—including poetry readings, book launches, music performances, and film screenings—that further its mission of East-West exchange.

To see more of Jane Lee’s work, visit Sundaram Tagore website: www.sundaramtagore.com/artists/jane-lee