By RICHARD STEPHENS PVT
Artist Joyce Yu-Jean Lee wrapped up a residency at the Red Barn Art Center at Rhyolite under the sponsorship of Goldwell Open Air Museum on Feb. 15.
Lee holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Mount Royal School of Art, and has studied at the Art Students League of New York and the International School of Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture in Umbria, Italy.
Trained and skilled in classical drawing and painting techniques, Lee currently produces multi-media work that incorporates pastel painting and digital video.
Her work at Rhyolite centered around a reinterpretation of Albert Szukalski’s “Last Supper,” which is the key piece in the Goldwell collection.
Using a group of local young men to portray the biblical figures, Lee created a piece that included a pastel painting that combined the basic layout and perspective of the room in Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting of the subject with elements of a slaughterhouse, with the young men being presented as sheep butchers.
She also created a series of still life prints involving found objects from the area presented in the vanitas tradition. Lee explains that vanitas paintings were originally celebrations of life, but are also about death.
“I’m interested in how I can revisit iconic historical paintings and bring them back to life through video installations,” says Lee.
She has done this with works by such artists as Vermeer, Caravaggio, and Hopper.
“There is always something about the quality of light in the pieces I select — it’s what attracts me to them,” she explains.
She had been thinking about doing more art based on religious paintings and finding out that Szukalski’s “Last Supper” was here is what attracted her to apply for the Goldwell residency. She said she did not originally plan to include the “Last Supper” in her show, which is opening in the Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington, DC on March 12, but now it has become the focus of the show.
The show will include time-lapse sunrise and sunset footage shot in the Beatty area, the video interpretation of the “Last Supper,” and the vanitas still lifes.
Lee usually uses two projectors to display her video interpretations on walls that meet in a corner, but she will display the “Last Supper” on a flat wall in keeping with the fresco nature of Leonardo’s work which was also Szukalski’s inspiration.
Before finishing her residency, Lee gave a presentation to Mike Dszynski’s art class at Beatty High School.
Once it is completed, the work done here may be viewed along with other samples of her work on her website, <a href=www.jyjlee.com.