Art Projects International

poster for Il Lee “GREENPOINT”

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Art Projects International presents GREENPOINT: New Prints by Il Lee. The exhibition features thirty-three limited-edition etching prints from Il Lee’s newest Greenpoint series shown together for the first time. The exhibition follows IL LEE: New Paintings/40 Years in New York celebrating Il Lee’s career over the past four decades in New York City.

Named after the streets of Greenpoint in Brooklyn, Lee’s Greenpoint series of limited-edition etching prints are evocative of his most recent ballpoint works that depart from his seemingly endless flowing lines. This recent focus on the etching process allows Lee to extend his lexicon of mark-making and through this experimentation and exploration, Lee has recently been altering the character of his well known, form giving, energetically looping line. In works like Franklin, the lines that overlap to create form are straight and of discrete lengths. In other works like Wind, forms flow freely off the edge as if they could continue forever.

IL LEE (b. 1952, Seoul, Korea. Lives and works in New York) is best known for his pioneering work with ballpoint pen that he began more than 35 years ago and continues today. In Lee’s recent acrylic and oil works on canvas, Il Lee offers a counterpoint to his well-known ballpoint pen work and continues his early investigations of materials and process that began decades ago. Lee’s oeuvre offers a great breadth of approaches and media as he investigates drawing, the negative and its positive, line and form and of what is rendered and what is there but not rendered. Lee’s monolithic focus has created a universe at once cohesive and yet still expanding in all directions.

Il Lee has been the subject of numerous major solo exhibitions including his critically-acclaimed 2007 mid-career retrospective organized by JoAnne Northrup at the San Jose Museum of Art. In 2010-2011, Lee exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a ballpoint ink on paper work by Il Lee was acquired by The Met’s Modern and Contemporary Art’s permanent collection early this year. In the last 12 years, the pioneering work with ballpoint pen that Il Lee began 35 years ago and continues today has garnered much critical acclaim and institutional recognition. Recent museum exhibitions include: First Hand: Architects, Artists, and Designers from the L.J. Cella Collection, Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA, 2016; MMCA Collection Highlights: Untitled, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, 2015; Momentum: An Experiment in the Unexpected, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA, 2014; Extreme Drawing–Ballpoint Pen Drawing Since 1950, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT, 2013; 11th National Drawing Invitational: New York, Singular Drawings, Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR, 2012; Representation/Abstraction in Korean Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2010-11; New Vision–Ballpoint Pen Drawings by IL LEE, Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas, 2010; Il Lee, Vilcek Foundation, New York, 2008; IL LEE: Ballpoint Drawings, Queens Museum of Art, New York, 2007; IL LEE: Ballpoint Abstractions, San Jose Museum of Art, CA, 2007; Open House: Working in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Museum, New York, 2004.

Works by Il Lee are represented in major collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; San Jose Museum of Art, CA; Vilcek Foundation, New York; Palm Springs Art Museum, CA; Société Bic, France; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Korea; Total Museum, Seoul; Hong-Ik University, Seoul; and Duksung Women’s University, Seoul among others.

Born and raised in South Korea, Il Lee studied painting in the 1970s with seminal figures of Korean contemporary art, including those in the vanguard of the abstract monochrome painting movement (Dansaekhwa). He spent most of his adult life as an artist in New York City—his home since 1977—where he developed his signature process and style using ballpoint pen, a medium important to his practice over the decades.

Il Lee is featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s The Artist Project.

Il Lee is featured in the book Ballpoint Art by Trent Morse, published by Laurence King Publishing, London (Fall 2016).

An 80-page, fully-illustrated catalogue is being published on the occasion of the exhibition IL LEE: New Paintings/40 Years in New York.



from December 10, 2016 to February 18, 2017

Opening Reception on 2016-12-17 from 15:00 to 18:00


Il Lee

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