Arm’s Length Intimacy. John Lee

29 Oct 2019 – 23 Nov 2019

Regular hours

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

Save Event: Arm’s Length Intimacy. John Lee

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The paintings in this show represent a range of work that I have created since moving into my current studio in the summer of 2014.


The work is comprised of Still Life Paintings, Interior Landscapes, and Self Portraits. What ties these various, yet interrelated, sorts of paintings together for me is the fact that they all build upon my organic painterly impulses. I am instinctively drawn to certain visual movements and moments. For one, I love neutral colors that have an ambiguous undercurrent of saturation:The color of an old file cabinet, the warm and cool patina in the pages of aged paperbacks, the specific color fluctuations that I see in bricks, candles, sponges, cardboard, flesh, stainless steel, dulI white objects, or matte wooden surfaces.

Each of my paintings stands as an ‘engagement’ with each particular subject or observed viewpoint. I strive to make a painting that feels sincere and complete. Given the open-ended nature of color perception, I am constantly repainting the paintings, all in an attempt to make each passage coherent in regards to the range and relationships of the colors. This attention to coherency relates to not only the color relationships but also to the edges that connect and separate each individual mark. There is an anxiety behind this working process that I believe is part of the expressive quality of the work.

The title of the show, “Arm’s Length Intimacy”, relates to certain visual tensions that involve such distinctions as color, space, gravity, or weight. My intimate appreciation of a mood or color involves the need, for me, of placing or pushing that color-moment back into a particular space. While it is my desire to express the feeling of this or that perceived color, however, I need to push and place that perceived color into a felt space. Additionally, I have also recently realized that my work is, I believe, best appreciated at ‘arm’s length’. That is, one should stand about two or three feet from the painting in order to see the, as I see them, intimate moments that I strive to compose in the paintings.

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John Lee Bird


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