Yoonjung Lee, a sculptural painter based in Baltimore, MD, weaves captivating narratives through her artwork, exploring the depths of mental health. She has earned her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York and her MFA in Multidisciplinary Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Lee has been selected in 11 solo and 32 group exhibitions and fairs throughout the US, Asia, and Europe by galleries such as Ilho and Cyart in Seoul, the Rosenberg and Nomu Nomu in Maryland, and Red Gate galleries in Beijing, China. She has attended various artist residencies around Europe and Asia, including the NES Artist Residency in Iceland, Spain, Portugal, Germany, China, and Thailand. Through her professional and academic career, her painting methodology rapidly evolved from monochrome to heavy impasto.
Yoonjung Lee uses her sculptural paintings as narrative pieces to discuss topics of mental health. She is passionate about exploring the concepts of self-acceptance, making choices, and inspiring the blossoming of new possibilities. By depicting multiple faces within a single portrait, Lee is able to portray diverse perspectives, and emotions and pique curiosity about the many elements within the piece.
She begins by layering acrylic paint to create scenes of realistic fairy tales. Lee’s creative process is a combination of happy coincidences and carefully planned, intentional movements of meditation and writing. With a thick layer of acrylic paint on the canvas, Lee uses her hands to manipulate and form basic shapes. She then uses a palette knife, brush, or any nearby sharp tool to layer fine details and writing throughout the piece. The writings within her pieces are subtle and cryptic, like a private conversation that’s being overheard but not fully understood. By layering movements and adding small details, Lee creates a rough shape that gradually builds into a path to the unique imagination. There are many uncanny aspects hidden throughout the piece that will lead the viewer on a personal journey.
Lee’s work evokes introspection within the viewer, forcing them to think about how they perceive the world around them and to question their positive or negative perspectives. Her work expresses that there is always a brighter side to seemingly dark situations like the two sides of a coin. The chains used throughout her pieces show that it’s possible to break our self-imposed boundaries and limitations, allowing us to seek new possibilities. The characters inside the painting are seducing viewers to follow them. However, we always need to find out if that hand is the right one to choose.
Will you follow them?
What kind of choice will you make?