Austin Lee incorporates and explores new technology into his art. His newest tool to create watercolor drawings is a robot, that mirrors his digital artwork. Lee explains how technology like that can change the perception and how we think about images. His digital tools are never replacements more an addition to drawing by hand.
BELOW TEXT FROM POSTMASTERS GALLERY / KERRY DORAN
Lee often begins his process by using an iPad to make digital drawings. Drawing, perhaps one of the quickest ways for an artist to translate a thought into something visual, is made almost immediate by sketching with the iPad. Drawing and erasing become swiping and undoing, enabling the ability to endlessly render and alter images. This method of working is inherently more visceral than analog drawing techniques, in that the hand is actually freer, unrestrained, and spontaneous, yielding entirely expressive results from what seem to be the simplest of lines. Mistakes, chance, and the accidental thus become central to Lee's playful and curious explorations on and through the screen, and subsequently on canvas.
Lee's paintings exhibit these very qualities, as he translates the uninhibited and intuitive process of gestural mark-making from one media to another. Both modes of working capture the quickness and impulsiveness of his movements; yet painting instills the process with slowness, facilitating moments of reflection and self-awareness, while at the same time opening up another channel for exploring the intentional and the incidental.
It has been noted that Lee's paintings look very different when viewed on the screen versus when seen in person.1 This is necessarily true for many, if not all, art "objects" today, which inevitably end up online in some form or another. Yet, the fact that there is such a distinct contrast between the screen image versus the physical object evinces the unique quality Lee captures in his paintings. Living through the screen has become so familiar that it has almost become an afterthought because of its ubiquity. Lee revitalizes our awareness of the screen, creating an almost ineffable plane of floating forms that invites immersive and introspective viewing. Ultimately, Lee's paintings reflect a new sort of visuality, elucidating our technologically informed way of thinking, seeing, and being in the world.
Austin Lee (b.1983) lives and works in New York. He received an MFA in Painting from Yale School of Art and a BFA from Tyler School of Art. His most recent solo exhibitions include shows at Postmasters Gallery in New York, Carl Kostyal in London and Stockholm, Kaleidoscope in Milan, New Gallery in Paris, BANK in Shanghai, Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Tokyo.
Austin Lee’s work has been written about in Artnews, Art in America, Artinfo, New York Magazine, Leap, Time Out New York and London, The NY Observer, Hyperallergic, Black Book, Dazed & Confused, Kaleidoscope Magazine, The Spectator, and Rhizome
Austin Lee | filmed by Out of Sync | NYC June 2015
Interview | Jesper Bundgaard
Camera and edit | Per Henriksen
Producer | Out of Sync
Artworks courtesy | Austin Lee
© Out of Sync 2017