Sophie Lee’s work considers the aesthetics of feeling and how meaning is made in the relationship between forms and textures, shapes and lines, space and color, the self and the other. Working within abstraction, she builds conversations and visual meaning by supporting, enhancing, balancing, frustrating, making room for, and obscuring the other.
Her recent paintings are a result of a process of competing components emerging and shifting until a delicate resting point is reached. The paintings are complete when the composition is precarious and barely coalesces. While each painting comes to its own conclusion, some harmonious, others chaotic, the textures, forms, shapes, and colors pull in many directions, signaling multiple associations, feelings, and thoughts. Like a restless brain asking what about this, and this, and this? Her paintings propose experiencing one feeling while talking about another.
The previous series, The Hole Paintings, defines the subjectivity of a painting as constructed by the space inside and outside the boundaries of its form. The space between the wall and panel along with the surface of the painting are all equally considered. Cutting holes into the panel, the cut out section is then returned, and the initial gestures of mark making are laid down in response to the lines from the cut. The cut interior is removed and shifted out of its original alignment within the original piece, or is moved to another piece. In some of the paintings, the center or subject matter is removed entirely and the emptied space becomes the content in conjunction with the remaining marks. If the center is displaced a psychology of mis –remembering is created. The desire to piece the image back together relies on a logic that may or may not add up. The replaced interior is never glued down, and gravity holds it in place. This contingency, that it will shift when moved, activates the piece, and adds a dynamic tension. While the artist determined a specific placement for the interior, it is left open that anyone can move and rearrange the composition thus incorporating multiple subjectivities into the work.
Object Relations combined three components: a collaged painting, a sculpture, and an oversized shelf connecting the two. The work interrogates the spaces between the three as well as the space of the viewer to the objects. The oversized shelf allows the viewer to see the painting only from a distance with a sculpture in their line of sight. This frustrates the desire to see and forces the viewer towards a physicality where they must navigate spatially around the work. The sculpture and the painting are dependent on each other, separated, yet connected in the visual field.
The through line of Lee’s work is an investigation of subjectivity. A subjectivity understood as sensations, thoughts, feelings, impulses, and physicality explored through the space inside and outside of a form and in relation to other objects.
©Sophie Lee 2021