Running like water
It seems a symphony unfolding poured into oil paint looking at Lydia Lee's artworks... On our interview the Seoul based artist reflects upon her goal in expression, the power of presence and rare beauty in the ever-changing.
WRITTEN BY OBLO GALLERY. PUBLISHED: MAR 10, 2023
Time like water seem to be of fluid quality. Can be running fast, or frozen down. Both evaporate into transparence, change into different states, the latter unrecognizable from the prior. Impossible to hold on to one moment of time or a drop of water preserved and unspoilt. Flowing it encounters all kinds of marvelous life - beholds it and runs further - barely it takes possession, but saves it in the soul. Unknowing we make part of it already and cannot be without. Yet a will arises to hold against this current, and to stand ground - even if it's just for short. Lydia Lee possesses an unlike power to break this incessant stream of life whilst portraying it onto the canvas.
In the following Lydia Lee presents us with a fresh perspective on her artistic craft, the impact on creating that surroundings do have and discusses the pursuit of freedom in her work.
"I think there is a unified flow that moves the whole picture and the operability of various forces when looking into it. Great chords, fast strokes"
HOW DO YOU BEGIN YOUR PROCESS OF CREATING WHEN YOU START SOMETHING NEW?
I listen to a lot of music that makes me ecstatic and challenges me,
and I do what I want to do without regrets.
USING OIL PAINT, WHAT ARE POSSIBILITIES AND CHALLENGES TO THIS TECHNIQUE?
The density and texture of oil paintings give me the sense of reality I want.
I haven't found a limit yet. If I had to find it, I would like it to dry a little faster.
CAN EXPRESSIONS EVER BE CONTROLLED?
I do not know. When I draw, I make unexpected gestures other than what I thought.
HOW DID YOU CHANGE AS AN ARTIST OVER TIME?
As more and more people look at my paintings,
my attitude towards the screen seems to have become more serious.
DOES THE PLACE YOU LIVE IN AFFECT YOUR STYLE OF ART?
The place... sometimes it's really important and sometimes it's not.
The location of Seoul was not such a attractive place for me from the beginning.
However, imagining through media and booklets is also a solution.
CAN THERE EVER BE REGRET IN CREATION?
Of course. It is another event where the combination of my choices is visualized.
"There is a saying by Thales that
once soaked in the water, it never comes back.
I see change in itself."
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN A PAINTING IS FINISHED?
IS IT A DECISION OR MORE OF A KNOWLEDGE?
There is only recognition. Respect myself for every movement in the moment I drew it, and acknowledge it.
WHAT IS THE BEAUTY OF THE EVER-CHANGING?
There is a saying by Thales that once soaked in water, it never comes back. I see change in itself.
HOW MUCH TIME IS A MOMENT?
It can't be the same every moment.
Normally once I hold a brush, I will spend three hours with the canvas screen.
It is also essential to take a break in the middle. The bigger the screen, the harder and longer the focus to direct the whole thing.
CAN ART BE PERCEIVED IN A WRONG WAY?
Yes, of course.
In my case, most of the symptoms are caused by lack of patience. Anyway, there are things that lead the screen by imagining and drawing continuously.
However, if I run out of energy or my desire to paint weakens depending on my personal condition, I will inevitably go down an unwanted path.
WHAT ARE SURROUNDINGS THAT INFLUENCE
YOUR CREATIVE POWER?
It is a very harmonious, elegant yet magnificent scenery, people and architecture. If it's a big city that comes together, it's very exciting. Any space where I can witness or experience modern change is great. Occasionally, a unique character from a novel or movie is also a good influence.
And the feeling of being in love has a good effect, especially in a relationship with an erotic person.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD PIECE OF ART?
The goal you want to express should be clear. Beautiful colors require a continuous change of thinking along with a clear imagination through color. The mind is insanely busy, and the hands move frenetically to keep up with the thoughts. All materials must be in a place where the eye can observe so they can be quickly transferred to the screen. What kind of flow will I create? What place will I draw? And how would I describe the light?
"The charm of abstract painting is that
the formative relationship between shape and color
can give viewers meaning. I want to be seen
as something completely different."
CAN DEPTH BE SEEN ON THE SURFACE?
Depth for the screen also works as part of the canvas cloth. Consider the various colors drawn on the surface, the direction of brush strokes, and the material. And above all, the oil painting material gives a sense of depth for each color. Different brands of the same blue are considered shallow and deep seas. And the depth of the screen determinate the overall flow of light in the picture. In my paintings there is a clear between light and what is experienced in the three-dimensional world we live in.
For example, what I experience when I see a material that reflects the dazzling sunlight is reflected in the beauty of specific parts on the screen. I am always moved by the fact that all of this can perceive a different sense of space through light.
WHAT IS A POEM OR A PIECE OF MUSIC THAT IS A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION TO YOU?
Such a medium makes me a completely different person. There I find a sense of immeasurable freedom and a state of being able to work. Instead of seeing things as they really are, they come into a relationship with me, making them completely different entities, and they even omitted and transformed. I'm mainly interested in connecting them from some sort of inner journey.
ARE SPACES AN EXPANSION OF OURSELVES?
Sure! I'm sure I will never see the world for myself.
That's why there are some collectors or just viewers who appreciate my paintings. For example, it is said that we live in a three-dimensional space, and we sense light, color, and movement in it. The sensations we receive meet each of our sorrows, fears, joys, loneliness, and boredom to create new perceptions, which I focus on.The charm of abstract painting is that the formative relationship between shape and color can give viewers meaning. I want to be seen as something completely different.
THE DEFINITION OF A GOOD DAY?
It's a perfect day if I know exactly what I'm thinking, the direction I'm going to go ahead and am overflowing with ideas that even concrete designs are build.
HOW IMPORTANT IS STABILITY IN AN ARTIST'S PROFESSIONAL LIFE?
It seems to be important where stability is needed. Of course, it would be nice if the food problem could be solved. However, there have been many times where I thought to myself that this was not the wright answer. Abundance leads not necessarily to good results. As long as the direction is clear to go is clear and firm, I don't care too much about anything other than financial stability.
WHAT LIES BEYOND TIME AND SPACE?
Well, I don't know either. Why are there so many scientists, philosophers and artists?
Because there is something unknown that no one knows, we stutter and fight until we die in the artificially created numbers of time and space,
and it seems that we have only a moment's pleasure.
OF ALL YOUR GREAT ACHIEVEMENTS AS AN ARTIST, WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
I think there is a unified flow that moves the whole picture and the operability of various forces when looking into it. Great chords, fast strokes
ÁlVaro Working Progress
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE COLOR?
Nothing special. At that time, my favorite color changed.
WHAT DOES FREEDOM MEAN TO YOU AS AN ARTIST?
I am most free when the relationship between my blood and heart is smooth and there is moderate tension. To be honest, there are many times when I only draw pictures like this. It is no exaggeration to say that the rest of the time is almost in a state of obsessive compulsive disorder. There seems to be some nervousness and sensitivity lurking there. When I leave the studio behind I brush, I fall into a position of committing a crime and running away. I have this kind of experience all the time, so I don't have a lot of free time. I don't have a single moment where I'm completely out of my work.
I do not know. A long time ago, when I was in high school, when I went on a trip to the Western United States with my family for the first time and saw Mother Nature unfolding before my eyes, I forgot about myself for a while and was completely obsessed with it. I have never experienced such an experience since then, and whenever I draw, I see that place as my utopia.
For inquiries about Lydia Lee's artworks go to the linked website.