Concurrent with his continuing development of large format works on paper and on canvas, Il Lee has been at work on a printing press in his studio creating monoprints and limited-run etchings. Each practice, to mutual benefit, visibly informs the other. This recent focus on the etching process allows Lee to extend his lexicon of mark-making and through this experimentation and exploration, Lee has recently been altering the character of his well known, form giving, energetically looping line. These new limited-edition prints are evocative of Lee’s most recent ballpoint works that depart from his seemingly endless flowing lines. In works like Leonard, the lines that overlap to create form are straight and of discrete lengths. In other works likeWind, forms flow freely off the edge as if they could continue forever.
IL LEE is a Korean-born New York artist best known for his pioneering work with ballpoint pen that he began more than 30 years ago. Recent museum exhibitions: Extreme Drawing–Ballpoint Pen Drawing Since 1950, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, 2013; 11th National Drawing Invitational: New York, Singular Drawings, Arkansas Arts Center, 2012; Representation / Abstraction in Korean Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2010-11; New Vision – Ballpoint Pen Drawings by IL LEE, Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas, 2010; Il Lee, Vilcek Foundation, New York, 2008; IL LEE: Ballpoint Drawings, Queens Museum of Art, New York, 2007; IL LEE: Ballpoint Abstractions, San Jose Museum of Art, CA, 2007. His work is represented in major collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, San Jose Museum of Art, Vilcek Foundation and National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul. The best-selling textbook Drawing: A Contemporary Approach places Lee’s work in the context of 20th Century trends in drawings along with other major contemporary artists.