“One of the first times I really saw death as a spiritual confrontation rather than a physical one was when a good friend told me ‘Everyone dies twice in their lifetime – the first time when their soul leaves the body. But the second time, even more frightening, is when the last person who remembers you dies.’ With this sentiment, which has resonated with me for years, my outlook on death – and consequently life – shifted, as did the relationship I had with my art. I now search for the sublime – drawing from intangible dreams, emotions, and memories – to find a transient medium that lingers between life and death. My work is not necessarily about my life, or even my views of the world, since my experience of life is imprinted by every second, every nanosecond. Rather, I create to purge – to create the cosmos from nothingness. The artist becomes a model of chaos.”
Timothy’s current practice expands on his earlier works, which used a fractal-like motif to translate the chaos of his anxiety into a network of landscapes and patterns. The “cell,” basic unit of his visual language, expressed a state of contained disorder – the colors of his watercolors mingling uninterrupted within the rigid boundaries he creates. The interaction of these cells, suspended within a gossamer-thin network of whiteness, serving as a microcosm for the human – and the artist’s – experience of life. In looking more outward, the artist is concerned with broader themes of the universality of sensations, and the collective human experience. Whereas his identity as a bearer of conflicts was investigated in his earlier works as a method of reconciliation, Timothy now uses his identity as a point of departure. He creates paintings, sculptures, and installations that explore the objective realms of emotions, memories and dreams, and his current practice uses this very personal narrative to engage in a grander, spiritual conversation on creation and destruction, order and disorder, reality and illusion, and of trauma and healing.
Timothy Hyunsoo Lee (b. 1990) is an artist born in Seoul, South Korea and currently based in Seoul and New York. Educated at Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT, USA) with a degree in neuroscience, drawing and developmental biology, his works are informed by his history of immigration, identity conflicts, and the anxiety that developed in him as a result. Using his personal narrative as a vector for exploring more universal concerns about creation and destruction, order and disorder, and of trauma and healing, he works in a variety of media but with a particular focus on watercolors and works on paper. Timothy was the 2014 recipient of the VSA Emerging Young Artist Award given by the Kennedy Center (Washington DC, USA), as well as the International Emerging Artist Award in Dubai. He has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in venues such as the Smithsonian Institution and the Wallach Gallery of Columbia University, as well as at Casablanca, Dubai, Singapore, Madrid, Istanbul and India. He is currently represented by Sabrina Amrani Gallery in Madrid, Spain.
Timothy is currently an invited, and participating, artist in the APT Global One trust program.