3×3: Lee, Tsao, Ferrante

16 Jun 2023 – 28 Jul 2023

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11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00

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A special summer exhibition featuring nine stellar works by three artists — Il Lee, Richard Tsao and Mariano Ferrante — who have worked closely with the gallery over the years. The exhibition is a celebration of three distinctive talents, each pushing the boundaries of their chosen media...


In ongoing celebration of the gallery’s 30-year anniversary, Art Projects International presents a special summer exhibition 3×3: Lee, Tsao, Ferrante, featuring nine stellar works by three artists — Il Lee, Richard Tsao and Mariano Ferrante — who have worked closely with the gallery over the years. The exhibition is a celebration of three distinctive talents, each pushing the boundaries of their chosen media, and the gallery’s commitment to exemplary artists with diverse international backgrounds.

Highlighting pivotal periods, the exhibition brings together several key works that have been integral parts of important museum exhibitions or other significant and defining projects during each artist’s career.

The indigo of the ballpoint pen, and his performative drawing, has long been associated with Il Lee’s five decades of studio practice and many of his best known works on paper and canvas. Lee’s recent acrylic and oil on canvas work, informed by his ballpoint pen work, opened up rich new territories for the artist, and on this anniversary year, we are especially thrilled to present Il Lee’s largest oil and acrylic work to date, a ten-foot long dark indigo oil on canvas tour de force, seen for the first time since it’s debut in Representation/Abstraction in Korean Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2010-2011); Il Lee’s rarely seen 1984 acrylic and oil work integral to the artist’s 2007 groundbreaking retrospective Il Lee: Ballpoint Abstractions at the San Jose Museum of Art, CA; and Il Lee’s very large black ballpoint ink on paper work from his seminal 978 series of powerful drawings from the 1990s. The presentation offers viewers a chance to see a brief historical overview of Lee’s art.

Created in the artist’s specially designed “flood room” studio in New York, Richard Tsao’s well-known color-saturated mixed-media paintings are process-based works that take years to complete and are created by pooling and flowing pigments, allowing nature to have its say. Works that are precursors to this remarkable body of work were first exhibited in his critically-acclaimed 1995 breakout solo exhibition at the Queens Museum in New York and described as “chromatically opulent, process-intensive abstraction” by Holland Cotter in The New York Times. To coincide with the artist’s upcoming solo museum exhibition Richard Tsao: The Constant Gardener opening on June 30, 2023, at MoCA Westport, we are delighted to present Richard Tsao’s Valley High Valley Low (2006), High in the Sky (2004) and Glacier (2001) from his singular flood room painting series as part of the exhibition.

One of the most innovative geometric abstract artists working in Argentina today, Mariano Ferrante’s richly colored works, often dense with lines and non-repeating patterns, come out of a conversation with the constructivist, concrete, and neo-concrete art movements as they were manifested in Latin America. Described by curator Santiago Bengolea as “a dedicated and obsessive researcher, a scientist, looking into and constantly re-elaborating the act of painting, questioning even his own ideas until arriving always to new results,” Ferrante spent the past decade developing his well-known Pintura and Monocromo series of paintings. The artist has become a presence in the gallery program in recent years and we are proud to present Mariano Ferrante’s Pintura A15/19 (2019)that was part of his first major solo exhibition in the United States in 2019, as well as his recent paintings Monocromo N39/21 (2021) and Pintura CE 07/21 (2021).

About the Artists

Il Lee (b. 1952, Seoul, Korea) lives and works in New York. First solo exhibition at Art Projects International in 1997. Internationally celebrated for his pioneering work with ballpoint pen and a storied career spanning nearly five decades, Il Lee is a trailblazer of contemporary abstraction. Lee’s more recent venture into a related but different medium, first exemplified in the public unveiling of his large-scale and oil on canvas work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2010, opened a significant and exciting new direction for the artist. His innovative and historically grounded ballpoint pen works were the subject of a critically acclaimed mid-career retrospective at the San Jose Museum of Art in 2007. Museums exhibiting his work include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Palms Springs Art Museum, Queens Museum of Art, Crow Museum of Art, Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, and National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea. Work by the artist is represented in prominent collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), San Jose Museum of Art, Palm Springs Art Museum, Vilcek Foundation, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Korea, Leeum Samsung Museum of Art (Seoul), Société Bic (France), Montefiore Fine Art Collection, and Bank of America.

Richard Tsao (b. 1954, Bangkok, Thailand) lives and works in New York. First solo exhibition at Art Projects International in 2011. Tsao is interested in elemental processes and in the essence of materials, as illustrated by his using still and flowing water to create his “flood room” paintings. A long-time resident of New York, Tsao continues to be inspired by his memories of growing up in Bangkok and his signature, vibrantly colored, multi-layered paintings and works on paper evoke the lush nature of his native Thailand. The 1990s were an active period for Tsao as an artist in New York with his works appearing in numerous exhibitions in New York, including key downtown exhibition spaces such as the Artists Space, Art in General and Wynn Kramarsky’s 560 Broadway. Since the mid-1990s, Tsao has shown extensively in the United States and Asia. His upcoming museum exhibition Richard Tsao: Constant Gardener at MoCA Westport opens June 30, 2023. Recent solo exhibitions include: Richard Tsao: Green Acres, Art Projects International, New York (2021); Richard Tsao: Monotypes, Art Projects International, New York (2020); Richard Tsao: Works from Industry City, Art Projects International, New York (2014); Richard Tsao: Nam Wan, Art Projects International, New York (2011). His work is represented in major collections including the Weatherspoon Art Museum; Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts Foundation Collection; and Montefiore Fine Art Collection, New York.

Mariano Ferrante (b. 1974, Bahía Blanca, Argentina) lives and works in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His first major U.S. solo exhibition was presented at Art Projects International in 2019. His work has been exhibited at leading museums and institutions in Buenos Aires, including the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes; Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires; and Fundación PROA. Recent site-specific commissions include: Monocromía en cuatro colores Nro 2 at Centro Cultural Córdoba, Argentina (2021); Polyphony of Four Colors at Sala de Camara at Usina del Arte, Buenos Aires (2020); Transformations N1/2019 at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church Day School, New York (2019); Partitura para Exterior N27/16 in Parque de los Laberintos at Tecnópolis, Buenos Aires (2016); and Cosmorama 2009/2015 at Belgrano Subway Station, E line, Buenos Aires (2015). Ferrante’s work is represented in major collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art of Buenos Aires (MACBA); Union Industrial Argentina, Buenos Aires; Francis J. Greenburger Collection; Montefiore Fine Art Collection; and Bank of America.

© 2023 Art Projects International, New York

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Il Lee

Richard Tsao

Mariano Ferrante


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