Jane Lee: Red States is an exhibition by acclaimed Singaporean artist Jane Lee, presented by Sundaram Tagore, in partnership with Tagore Foundation International and the Hong Kong Arts Centre. This defining, mid-career presentation, which includes a retrospective selection of sketches, studies and maquettes that trace the chronology of Lee’s practice, is the artist’s first solo show in Hong Kong.
Jane Lee first came to critical attention in 2008 when her massive installation Raw Canvas—on view now at the National Gallery of Singapore—was featured in the Singapore Biennale curated by Fumio Nanjo. As one of the few Asian artists producing monumental, sculptural paintings, Lee’s work was a highlight of Medium at Large, a yearlong exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum (2014–15), where her large-scale wall-mounted installation Status was acquired for the museum’s permanent collection.
Paint, canvas, frame, orientation and dimension—all are variables in Jane Lee’s hands. Through assiduous processes of layering, mixing, winding, wrapping, kneading, daubing and other acts of physical transformation, the artist redefines paint and painting to produce dynamic and bold forms.
Red States comprises a diverse yet cohesive mix of new sculptural paintings and site-specific installations produced for this presentation. The exhibition spans all levels of the Hong Kong Arts Centre’s Pao Galleries, with paintings, sculptures and a large-scale installation suspended from the ceiling on the top floor, accompanied by studies and reference materials tracing the evolution of Lee’s practice on the lower level. The retrospective portion of the exhibition is curated by Michelle Ho, assistant director of Singapore’s ADM Gallery at the School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, and former curator at the Singapore Art Museum.
Included in the show are works that expand on earlier series including Fetish, one of Lee’s most celebrated group of paintings, begun in 2009, in which she employs her trademark technique of hand-twisting sinews of dried paint into coils to produce intricate, tactile surfaces articulated in opulent color. Also on view is Cream, a body of work that evolved from her Stack series, which she began in 2014. The installation comprises eight bubble-gum pink sculptures, which the artist has decisively poked, punctured and gouged to reveal vibrant swaths of crimson hidden beneath the surface.
As the title Red States suggests, the color red dominates this new body of work—not as a single color, but in a spectrum of shades that mirrors the range of its associations—from passion and action to blood and life to cultural and political references to luck, auspiciousness and the representation of people and the nation. Just as red takes on and projects a multiplicity of meanings and effects, with this exhibition, Lee vividly presents the many states of paint and painting.
Exhibition dates: May 11 to June 10, 2018
Opening reception with the artist: Thursday, May 10, 6 to 8 pm
Venue: Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai