Here Where Tomorrow May Be • Lee Paje

Nov 13 to Dec 4, 2020 • Video Room

As many creation myths tell us, the early beginnings of the present world are often perceived through the binary view of gender, upon which the socio-cultural traditions, beliefs and norms have been constructed. Lee Paje’s artistic inquiry, manifested in a variety of scales and medium, gently yet critically challenges such binary thinking that has been tightly woven into the social fabric, trapping individual bodies. With the “Here” referring to the artist’s worktable, the exhibition draws intimate attention to the continued work of the artist’s hand in re-crafting the stories to challenge such categorizations.

Waves. In mythologies and fables, the sea has been associated with deities and gods, and it has been often portrayed as a feminine force. Breaking waves have been particularly laden with suggestive meanings filtered through masculine perspectives — symbols of nameless subordinate, uncontrollable emotions and anger, or maternal protective membrane.

Employing the very medium and visual language of the traditionally male-dominated domain of oil painting, Paje demystifies the seascape by radically diminishing the scale of the image and by carefully dubbing short and dense paint as if to mend a torn surface. Lee’s breaking waves foreground the amorphousness of the water, which engulfs all forms, and the disorder of the waves, which destabilizes all order.

Water fills the faceless bodies and reconfigures the relations among the life forms through making connections and reconnections that have been rejected and disrupted, while generously reminding us of the very substance that composes our own body — water. Lee’s choice of copper as the support for her image further generates imaginations that gravitate our location to a deep bottom of the earth, thus lets us see ourselves as a biological presence intricately inherent in the cosmos. (Mayumi Hirano)