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JUNGJIN LEE 

BEYOND PHOTOGRAPHY

15 JUL, 2005

Jungjin Lee is a photographer whose works critics have placed in between photography and painting, for they move beyond the documentary function or everyday photography and step into the realm of the abstract. Lee does not use modern digital technology to creat the prints. Instead, she brushes photosensitive emulsion onto handmade rice paper. Lee then goes through traditional darkroom process to project the image onto the prepared surface. Lee arrived at her paper printing method when, while a graduate student at NYU, she gave herself permission to stray from one of the most fundamental aims of photography-that of pristine clarity. ‘I realized that I didn't need to show every little detail of what I photographed. I wanted my work to look more like a painting,’ The sensual properties of these photographic prints are very different than what we are accustomed to seeing. Critic Terri Thompson Randall says, ‘Lee's black and white photographs on rice paper have a soft, antiquated feeling. They seem less about recording specific times and places and more about creating emotional, poetic experiences.’Scale is an important attribute in the Thing series, which will dominate Jungjin Lee’s show at Andrew Bae Gallery. In each piece, one solo object, or ‘thing’ hovers, larger than life, against a white background. These are everyday objects, some familiar, like a pear, a chair, or a pair of shoes, and some Korean objects, a wooden pillow, for example, that are not so familiar to an American audience. ‘I choose subjects that stay with me for a while,’ says Lee. ‘I have to feel something through the object, beyond its shape or function.’

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