Paul Lee Exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery

Paul Lee
Untitled (Can Sculpture) x3 views

2007

Soda cans, magnifying glass, string, paint, Xerox, socks, coal, light bulb

32 x 12 x 19 cm

Robert Raucshenberg’s work and biography is often discussed as a contextual precedent for Paul Lee’s sculptures. Raucshenberg’s ‘combines’ were assemblages of objects and paintings that pioneered cross-media and pop art, and his personal relationship with Jasper Johns is a well cited reference point in queer history. Using everyday objects such as soda cans, light bulbs, and socks, Lee’s Untitled (Can Sculpture) series explores the relationships between materials and their coded cultural and sexual meanings.

Paul Lee
Untitled (Can Sculpture) x3 views

2007

Soda cans, magnifying glass, string, paint, Xerox, light bulbs

32 x 12 x 19 cm

Each of the pieces in Untitled (Can Sculpture) begins with a soda can with a photocopy of a young man’s face pasted over the label. The image is taken from a 70s naturist magazine and was chosen because the boy’s strong classical features exemplify archetypical ideals of beauty and youth. In this work, a red light bulb is embedded inside a torn can to denote sexual attraction, its seedy glow visible through the peep hole opening of another. Desire and fixation are amplified through a small magnifying lens which focuses on the bulb’s phallic screw-grooved base.

Paul Lee
Untitled (Can Sculpture) x3 views

2007

Soda cans, sock, string, paint, Xerox, magnifying glass, coal, light bulb

32 x 12 x 19 cm

In Untitled (Can Sculpture) Lee’s materials take on a performative dimension, their readymade shapes and loaded meanings creating an image with evocative narrative innuendo. Here a crunched soda can, magnifying glass, and a lump of coal dangle above a man’s face like a crude appendage; the lens is fixed on the face as libidinous source. Hanging from the portrait, a well-worn sock – the ‘handy’ accessory of teen boys everywhere – limply dangles with the promise of polishing a diamond from the hunk of rough.

Paul Lee
Untitled (Can Sculpture) x3 views

2007

Soda can, magnifying glass, string, paint, Xerox, sea sponge, ink

32 x 12 x 19 cm

The tactile quality of Lee’s materials provoke an intensified mode of viewing. Their familiar textures are set in jarring juxtaposition: the cool smoothness of metal, rough squishiness of sponge, and dull softness of paper, triggering a longing of touch in physical memory. Through this sensual fetishisation of everyday consumer objects Lee’s sculptures explore the nature of personal identity, their disposable nature highlighting the ephemeral transience and guilty pleasures of desire.

Paul Lee
Untitled (Can Sculpture) x3 views

2007

Soda cans, magnifying glass, string, paint, Xerox, light bulb

32 x 12 x 19 cm

Photocopies, light bulbs and magnifying lenses appear throughout Lee’s Untitled (Can Sculpture) series. With these materials, Lee explores the nature of the photographic image. In this work the power of a picture to create a strong somatic and psychological reaction is dissembled through the devices of image production: a photo that has been created with a lens and light is viewed through both a light bulb and looking glass. By reducing a sensual image to its bare physical mechanics, Lee illustrates a kind of technical porn, exposing both instinctive attraction and its emotional detachment.

Paul Lee
Untitled (Can Sculpture) x3 views

2007

Soda cans, bath towel, ink, magnifying glass, string, paint, xerox, light bulb

32 x 12 x 19 cm

The sense of haptic memory is overwhelmingly in every aspect of Lee’s sculptures. Here soft drink cans and bath towelling evoke a lingering evidence of intimacy: saliva on lip, damp scent of sweat; while the translucent and swollen light bulbs suggest something that was once ‘turned on’. Awkwardly bound together by the frayed remnants of a shoe string, Lee’s assemblage conveys the fragility and pathos of lost love and its detritus in this precariously balanced composition.

Paul Lee
Untitled (Can Sculpture) x3 views

2007

Soda cans, bath towel, ink, magnifying glass, string, xerox, light bulb, coal

32 x 14 x 20 cm

Hanging from the central can, two black and white socks frame a young man’s angelic face in a yin and yang embrace, their polarities of colour echoed in the brick of coal and light bulb which anchor the piece at top and bottom. This visual tension is compounded by the optical disc dangling by a bit of crudely tied string from the base of the can. Intensely magnifying a view of a lighting filament to microcosmic proportions, it creates a mystical sense of wonder and meditation.

Paul Lee
Untitled (Yellow Tether)

2007

Plaster cast rock, bath towel, cotton thread, ink

100 x 130 x 22 cm
Paul Lee
Untitled (Stairs With Cement Towel)

2007

Bath towel, cotton thread, wood glue, paint, wood, cement, ink

85 x 64.5 x 75 cm
Paul Lee
Untitled (3 Lit Podiums, Primary)

2007

Bath towel, sacks, cotton thread, wood, paint, light bulbs, electrical fixtures, ink

Approx. 94 x 100 x 92 cm
Paul Lee
Untitled (Cement Towel)

2008

Sculpture - bath towels, ultracal plaster/cement mix

109.2 x 36.8 x 25.4 cm

Paul Lee's Biography

Paul Lee
Born in 1974, London, England
Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York



SOLO EXHIBITIONS


2018
David Shelton Gallery, Houston TX, USA
On My Way to Know You, Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London

2017
Pestle, Michael Lett, Auckland, New Zealand

2016
Centre, Jeffrey Stark, New York, NY, USA
Layers for a Brain Corner, Maccarone, Los Angeles, CA, USA

2015
On The Beach In The Dark, Untilthen, Paris, France
Nocturnal, seeing in the dark, a path of light that does not cross others, Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London
Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA, USA

2014
Matinee, Maccarone, New York, NY, USA
Stuart Shave/Modern Art and Maccarone, Independent, New York, NY, USA
39 Great Jones, New York, NY, USA

2013
Active Light, Michael Lett, Auckland, New Zealand
Emerald, Maccarone, New York, NY, USA

2011
Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London

2010
Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London
Lavender, Maccarone, New York, USA

2008
Arm’s Length, Peres Projects, Los Angeles, USA

2007
Paul Lee, Chinati Foundation, Marfa, USA
Harbour, Peres Projects, Berlin, Germany

2006
Reservoir, Massimo Audiello, New York, USA
Paul Lee, Schoolhouse Gallery, Provincetown, USA

2005
Olympus, Schoolhouse Gallery, Provincetown, USA

2004
New Work, Schoolhouse Gallery, Provincetown, USA

2003
The dead birds of W28th St, Schoolhouse Gallery, Provincetown, USA

2002
Books, Paintings, Drawings, Schoolhouse Gallery, Provincetown, USA
Paul Lee at the Chelsea Hotel, Chelsea Hotel, New York, USA


GROUP EXHIBITIONS


2018
Summer Exhibition, Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London
Project 09: Etienne Courtois, Paul Lee & Richard Nonas, OV Project, Brussels, Belgium
Peter, Paul and Mary, Adrian Rosenfeld Gallery, San Francisco, CA, USA

2017
Marching to the Beat, Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, CA, USA
Le Coup de Soleil, untilthen, Paris, France
Touchpiece, Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA

2016
Theories of Modern Art, Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London
Home Improvements, curated by John Waters, FraenkelLAB, San Francisco, CA, USA

2015
Marlborough Lights, Marlborough Contemporary, New York, NY, USA
Love for Three Oranges, Karma at Gladstone Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
Teeth Gnash Tennessee, Invisible Exports, New York, NY, USA
Embracing Modernism: Ten Years of Drawings Acquisitions, The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY, USA
Partial Presence, Zabludowicz Collection, London

2014
Collective III, Galerie Guy Bärtschi, Geneva, Switzerland

2013
UIA (Unlikely Iterations of the Abstract), curated by Bill Arning, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, TX, USA
Adams and Ollman, Portland, OR, USA
Within and Throughout, JTT, New York, NY, USA
Notes on Neo-Camp, curated by Chris Sharp, Office Baroque, Antwerp, Belgium; travelling to Studio Voltaire, London

2012
CELLBLOCK II, An Essay In Exhibition Form, curated by Robert Hobbs, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NY, USA

2011
Portikus, Franfurt-am-Main, Germany
Absentee Landlord, curated by John Waters, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA
Robert Mapplethorpe: Night Work Curated by The Scissor Sisters, Alison Jacques Gallery, London

2010
Everynight I go to sleep, Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London
Summer Camp, Exile Galerie, Berlin, Germany

2009
Abstract America: New Painting and Sculpture, Saatchi Gallery, London
Minneapolis, Peres Projects, Los Angeles, USA
Parallel, Bortolami Gallery, New York, USA
Between Beach Ball and Rubber Raft, curated by William Gass, Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, USA
Mary’s Choice, curated by Mary Heilmann, 303 Gallery, New York, USA

2008
The Station, curated by Shamim Momin and Nate Lowman, Miami, USA
The Dulcet Clime of the Bedchamber, curated by Nicolas Weist, Goff + Rosenthal, Berlin, Germany
Shape of Things to Come, Saatchi Gallery, London
Jesuvian Process, Elizabeth Dee, New York, USA

2007
Ready-Made, Yvon Lambert Project Space, New York, USA
NeoIntegrity, curated by Keith Mayerson, Derek Eller Gallery, New York, USA
Substance & Surface, Bortolami, New York, USA
Eliminate, curated by John Waters, Alberta Merola Gallery, Provincetown, USA

2006
Postcards from the edge, Sikkema Jenkins & Co, New York, USA
Table, curated by Kathleen White and Rafael Sanchez, (reading), Gene Frankel Theatre, New York, USA
Open Network, curated by Patricia Maloney, Ampersand International, San Francisco, USA
This is Not Called Gay Art Now, curated by Jack Pierson, Paul Kasmin, New York, USA
New Beginnings, Schoolhouse Gallery, Provincetown, USA
Christening a Cabin, curated by Chris Viet, High Desert Test Sites, 29 Palms, USA

2005
Drawing Show, Schoolhouse Gallery, Provincetown, USA
Certain People I Know, Margaret Thatcher Gallery, New York, USA
All in the Family, Texas Gallery, Houston, USA
Disco Hospital, Coleman Projects, London