As part of its Viewing Room programme, Simon Lee Gallery is pleased to present Welcome to Our Mess a solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist Justin John Greene, his first in the UK. This new suite of paintings offers a panorama of a sun-washed, tragicomic barbeque with scenes set against the background of an oddly utopic neighbourhood, in which themes of conflict and romance are paramount.
Jeff Elrod, Alex Hubbard, Yang Shu
Simon Lee Gallery, Hong Kong, is delighted to present a group exhibition of works by Jeff Elrod, Alex Hubbard and Yang Shu. Working across the painted medium, all three artists share a commitment to gesture, colour and graphic mark-making, albeit in very different ways. Yet a common approach to anti-hierarchical materials and techniques unites the three artists, each of whom continues to challenge the traditions of painting in bold and experimental ways, not least in their handling of the performative gesture and the ways in which it can be relayed in two dimensions.
Towards Infinity: 1965-1980
Simon Lee Gallery is pleased to present Towards Infinity: 1965-1980, an exhibition of major works conceived by artists from across the international scope of the Conceptual art movement, with special focus on the period between 1965 and 1980. During the 1960s and 1970s a disillusionment with pervasive movements in art and the influence of radical European theoretical thought inspired a re-evaluation of long-held attitudes towards formal and material conventions. Taking its title from Giovanni Anselmo’s seminal work of the same name, Verso l’infinito (1969), the exhibition explores the dematerialisation of the art object and the dismantling of concepts that had bolstered the definition and context of traditional art-making well into the 20th century. Working across a wide range of media, including photography, film, video, performance and installation, the artists in the exhibition all demonstrated an anti-hierarchical approach to both subject and material that positioned the idea first and form second. All the works presented adhere to the fundamental premise put forward by Anselmo’s Verso l’infinito, challenging the constructs of time and space to create an art that is at once forward-looking, in flux and without limits.
Leelee Kimmel: Wormhole
As part of its Viewing Room programme, Simon Lee Gallery is pleased to present Wormhole a solo exhibition by New York-based artist Leelee Kimmel, her first in the UK. In her latest work, Kimmel presents a series of large-scale abstract paintings that are confrontational in both colour and dimension, exploring themes of creation and destruction. The immersive element of her work is further developed through sculptural pieces and a five-minute Virtual Reality work that invites total submergence into the deep space of Kimmel’s creative world.
The large-format paintings feature graphic shapes clustered in thick multilayered pools of bright acrylic paint, which weave across fields of solid white or black. The paintings are imbued with a restless energy and freedom that is intrinsically linked with how the artist creates her works. The resulting compositions deliberately move in and out of representation, sensuous and strict, gloss and matte, tangled and full. The complex patch-work of imagery, consisting of crosshatch and opposing vector-like lines and patterns as well as interrupting biomorphic forms, has an otherworldly quality. Forceful and nervous lines are reminiscent of artists such as Basquiat and Twombly, while the uncanny worlds and dreamlike atmospheres created by the artist emerge into a sort of mutant realism.
Simon Lee Gallery New York is proud to present a concise exhibition by American abstract painter Roy Newell (1914-2006), showcasing paintings spanning over half a century of the artist’s career, including works that come directly from the artist’s Estate and that have not previously been shown in New York. Characterized by their multi-layered surfaces, irregular geometrical patterns, obsessive reworking and luminous tonality, the works on display reveal an expressive power that aligns Newell with the Abstract Expressionist movement, of which he was an original member.
In the 1940s – before the emergence of Abstract Expressionism – the art reference room of the New York Public Library was a popular meeting point for burgeoning artists. It was here that Newell met his friend and life-long champion of his work, Willem de Kooning, and began his career on the same successful path as that of his contemporaries and fellow members of the soon-to-be New York school. While large-scale gestural painting was pioneered by most, Newell began moving in an entirely different direction. His paintings became smaller and more hermetic, with Newell himself becoming increasingly withdrawn from the art-world mainstream. He was fascinated by colour and texture, and his expressive brushstrokes, which emulate post-Impressionist artists such as Vuillard, Bonnard, and Cézanne, are juxtaposed with the rigidity of the grid that echoes the hard-edged abstraction of Malevich, Mondrian and Albers.
As part of its Viewing Room programme, Simon Lee Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Holly Coulis, her first in the UK. In her latest work, Coulis presents a series of vibrant paintings that traverse the traditional genre of still life painting, and delight in the geometry of the everyday.
The oil on linen works on view depict simple scenes of quotidian life - familiar objects and foodstuffs arranged precisely and playfully on tables and countertops. Reminiscent of early modernist and cubist still life painting, Coulis’s domestic scenes are flattened, and the objects and surfaces are broken down into distinct areas or planes of unvariegated colour that represent different viewpoints. In each painting, there is a play and invention in constructing the space, and often the challenge lies in deciphering the dynamic of the table, whose lines and edges bisect and mirror the shape of the canvas.
Bernard Frize: Blackout in the Grid
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of paintings by Bernard Frize, the fourth to be held in the London gallery. This exhibition brings together paintings from Frize’s most recent series with works made in the decade from 1999 to 2008. As the Centre Pompidou prepares for its first major survey exhibition of the artist’s work, to be held in 2019, the juxtaposition of these works reveals both the consistency of Frize’s project, and his constant innovation.
Throughout his career, Frize has revisited and revised his own works from earlier series. The loops and switchbacks of the trajectory of his career seem to echo those interweaving marks which structure many of the paintings themselves. He has spoken of these structures as devices for the removal of compositional decisions. The paintings proceed in series; the series are determined by the rules which govern them. He continues until the variations, and the possibility to produce new results, are exhausted. Frize’s project is, simply stated, one of reducing painting to its most fundamental elements, of using structure and system to govern and regulate the compositional process and thus absolve the artist from the decision making process, so that there is nothing more to the work than its physical, even technological, method of production.
Towards Infinity: 1965-1980
Simon Lee Gallery New York is pleased to present Towards Infinity: 1965-1980, an exhibition of major works conceived by artists from across the international scope of the Conceptual art movement, with special focus on the period between 1965 and 1980. During the 1960s and 1970s a disillusionment with pervasive movements in art and the influence of radical European theoretical thought inspired a re-evaluation of long-held attitudes towards formal and material conventions. Taking its title from Giovanni Anselmo’s seminal work of the same name, Verso l’infinito (1969), the exhibition explores the dematerialization of the art object and the dismantling of concepts that had bolstered the definition and context of traditional art-making well into the 20th century. Working across a wide range of media, including photography, film, video, performance and installation, the artists in the exhibition all demonstrated an anti-hierarchical approach to both subject and material that positioned the idea first and form second. All the works presented adhere to the fundamental premise put forward by Anselmo’s Verso l’infinito, challenging the constructs of time and space to create an art that is at once forward-looking, in flux and without limits.
Joel Mesler: The Alphabet of Creation (For Now)
As part of its Viewing Room programme, Simon Lee Gallery is pleased to present The Alphabet of Creation (for now) an exhibition of new works by New York-based artist and art dealer Joel Mesler. For his first solo presentation in the UK, Mesler will exhibit new paintings from his ongoing body of work based on the alphabet, in which each painting is devoted to a single letter, drawing on memories from his childhood and his hometown of Los Angeles.
Eric N. Mack: Misa Hylton-Brim
Simon Lee Gallery is pleased to present Misa Hylton-Brim, Eric N. Mack’s inaugural solo exhibition with the gallery and his first in London. The exhibition features a new body of the artist’s signature large-scale assemblages, which oscillate between painting, sculpture, the readymade and performance, at the same time initiating a dialogue between fashion and art.
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of new paintings by Los Angeles-based artist Jim Shaw. This will be the first exhibition of paintings by the influential American artist to be held in Asia.
Shaw moved to California from his hometown of Midland, Michigan in 1975 to attend Cal Arts, and along with fellow Michigan-native Mike Kelley, is one of a number of notable artists to emerge from the school in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Over the past thirty years, he has become one of the United States’ most influential and visionary artists, working in painting, sculpture, and drawing, and building connections between his own critical and psychological perspective and America’s broader political, social, and spiritual histories. His work is distinguished by rigorous formal and structural analyses of neglected forms from vernacular culture, informed by his large collections of objects representative of consumer desires, religious fervour, and a constantly evolving counterculture. For Shaw, these seemingly mundane artefacts reflect shifting social and political values and the way in which individual Americans are the product of a variety of conflicting forces.
As part of its Viewing Room programme, Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present work by American abstract painter Roy Newell (1914-2006), marking the first solo exhibition of the artist’s work in the UK. This concise presentation showcases seventeen paintings spanning over half a century of the artist’s career. Characterised by their multi-layered surfaces, irregular geometrical patterns, obsessive reworking and luminous tonality, the works on display reveal an expressive power that aligns Newell with the Abstract Expressionist movement, of which he was an original member.
Chris Huen Sin Kan
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present the first solo exhibition in America of new works by Hong Kong-based artist Chris Huen Sin Kan. With no prior sketching or planned outcome, Huen’s large-scale oil paintings are derived from observation of his own life, portraying quotidian experiences through a fresh set of aesthetic strategies. In constructing a constellation of moments that compose his daily life, Huen imbues domestic representational painting with both deft abstraction and the hallmarks of traditional ink painting.
Michelangelo Pistoletto: Scaffali
Simon Lee Gallery is delighted to present works from celebrated Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto’s most recent series of mirror paintings, in which he directs his attention towards the subject of scaffali, or shelves. This will be the artist’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery.
Pistoletto is widely recognised as one of the most influential contemporary artists of his generation and a central figure within the Arte Povera movement. From early in his five-decade career the mirrored surface has been an instrumental element of his practice. Initiated in 1962, Pistoletto’s signature mirror paintings use the reflective picture plane to draw both viewer and environment into the work, playing with traditional notions of the painted image as a fixed moment in time.
Clare Woods: Rehumanised
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present, for the first time in Asia, an exhibition of new works by London-based artist Clare Woods. For over 15 years Woods’ painting practice has been an exploration of physical form through the materiality of paint. Originally trained as a sculptor, Woods established her reputation with large-scale landscape paintings rendered in enamel on aluminium. Based on photographic source images, her immersive paintings of diverse scale have more recently moved into figurative works rendered in rich hues of oil paint. With an acute understanding of sculptural language, Woods’ interpretations shift between figuration and abstraction imbuing this central tension with volume, weight and interior mystery.
Jim Shaw: Drawings
On show as part of its ‘Viewing Room’ programme, Simon Lee Gallery presents a concise selection of drawings by Los Angeles-based artist Jim Shaw. The remarkable variation in scale and visual narrative on display highlights a crucially important part of the artist’s oeuvre, and the works on view trace defining elements in his ongoing artistic practice with humour, skill and insight. Whether as preparatory studies or as works in their own right, these monochromatic works on paper offer an intimate sense of the artist’s creative and conceptual process that mines the collective subconscious of American culture through a mix of the familiar and the absurd.
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of late paintings by pioneer of twentieth-century abstraction, Hans Hartung (1904-1989). This inaugural presentation with the gallery celebrates the last, highly productive decade of the artist’s life, which saw him return to many of the themes that had occupied him throughout his career, while expanding his repertoire with an array of innovative painting practices. Hartung’s late painting, much of which was made from the confines of a wheelchair, is amongst the most vigorous of his lifetime, revealing a renewed sense of freedom, energy and ambition despite his advancing age and increasing frailty. Although the artist’s dramatic approach to the medium was remarkable throughout his career, it was not until the 1980s that many of his freest and most experimental works were produced. Distinguished by dramatic shifts in technique, tools, scale and gesture, Hartung’s output over the course of his last years is testament to his rich and constant exploration of the language of abstraction.
Simon Lee Gallery, in collaboration with the Archivio Luciano e Carla Fabro and Micheline Szwajcer, is proud to present a solo exhibition of historic works from the early 1960s by celebrated Italian artist Luciano Fabro (1936-2007), his first in London since his landmark show at the Tate Gallery in 1997. A leading figure in the landscape of post-war Italian art and proponent of the influential Arte Povera movement, Fabro is renowned for his radical practice that offered a re-evaluation of sculptural form via a rigorous approach to spatial context, material and meaning. Concerned with the environment of both work and viewer, the foundational theoretical works presented in this exhibition explore the framing of space with a spare and elegant simplicity designed to induct the viewer into a participatory experience, in which sensibility and seeing are symbiotic. Although later works by the artist employed sumptuous materials – silk, marble, bronze – Fabro’s first works encapsulate with economic means the experimental poetry that would come to define the conceptual innovation of his near five-decade long career.
Isabelle Cornaro: Subterranean
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present for the first time in Asia, an exhibition of new video works by Paris-based artist Isabelle Cornaro. The multi-disciplinary practice of Cornaro considers the various material and conceptual shifts that occur when an object is transformed into an image.
The advent of the home studio in the 1970’s democratized both music and art, with cities like New York becoming significant platforms for the convergence of both practices. Partially due to financial instability brought on by urban decay and political neglect, artists embraced a do-it-yourself mentality which inevitably led to interdisciplinary experimentation. Although this time period was marked by metropolitan downturn, the phenomenal successes of these new wave forms of art making led to their ironic commercialization. Through a diverse group of artists and media, New Pleasure showcases the intersection of music and art after punk rock and investigates how artists have taken direct influence from musicians, have participated within either genre, or have performed as musicians themselves.
Merlin Carpenter: Do Not Open Until 2081
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of wrapped paintings by Merlin Carpenter. In 2009 Carpenter came up with the idea to make new interpretations of a group of paintings from the 1960s by the British artist John Hoyland (1934-2011). Carpenter was drawn to this particular body of work for its engagement with and furtherance of the ambitious large-scale US painting of the time.
Trip of the Tongue Curated by Piper Marshall
Simon Lee Gallery Hong Kong is pleased to present Trip of the Tongue, a group exhibition curated by Piper Marshall that examines how communication is filtered, trained, and disciplined. The title comes from a mistranslation of a common English phrase- “slip of the tongue”- meaning a specific kind of verbal blunder that is an excess of intended speech. Such slips can be telling, when they reveal our inner thoughts unintentionally, or they can also be random, absurd, or humorous. As social errors, they detour the conversation and push against the control we typically try to exert over our language.
Simon Lee Gallery New York is proud to present the first solo exhibition in America of Japanese artist Ryuji Tanaka. A recognized member of two avant-garde groups that are synonymous with post-war Japanese art: the Pan-real Art Association and Gutai Art Association, Tanaka’s legacy lies in his desire to evolve a unique artistic style that is at once experimental, and yet deeply rooted in the traditional Japanese-style painting - nihon-ga.
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of new and recent paintings by New York and Marfa-based artist Jeff Elrod, his third with the gallery to date. Recognised for his large-format abstract paintings concerned with the relationship between hand-painted and digitally created mark-making, for this exhibition Elrod has created a series of hybrid images that incorporate analogue techniques into his continued experiments in digital and print technology.