Peres Projects in Chinatown currently has up the first Los Angeles solo show of Paul Lee. Titled Arms Length, the show presents works that uses the everyday objects in a playful way to create sculptures and paintings.
Known for his considered use of what are often forgettable materials of the everyday, Lee here expands his range into what appears to be playful territory; towels, light bulbs and soda cans are joined by tambourines, record players, tennis and squash balls. But, where the viewer might imagine a good old-fashioned kinetic romp, these objects of recreation are instead completely suspended. The texture and color of an inert squash ball in Lee's sculpture render it flat, weightless, neither ascending nor descending.
Simple manipulations code the works: a patterned towel acts as metonymic proxy for a tiled fountain just as the blue bulb at its center identifies itself as water – these are not substitutions for Lee so much as contiguous points along a thought's trajectory.
Similarly, the drumhead of a silent tambourine on the wall is painted over with simple geometric color blocks; the construction literally equates art object and instrument, and beyond this the paint itself visually signifies sound – existing where we would expect noise to exist. Lee's treatment of the senses calls to mind familiar riddles and Buddhist kôans ("If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"), but he delves further, suggesting that the possibility of unperceived existence relates directly to unfulfilled desire.
March 1 - March 29, 2008
969 Chung King Road
Los Angeles, CA 90012