NEW YORK, NY.- Olsen Gruin
is presenting Good Boy, an exhibition of recent works by Australian artist Rhys Lee. This striking show features a collection of paintings inspired by a single image an orange interpretation of Pluto dressed in white gloves and a blue bow tie painted on a New York City subway car in the 1970s by graffiti artist Mitch 77.
Lee repeats and transforms this image, adding to, subtracting from, and abstracting its colour and form. Working intuitively, he is directed by the work, allowing each mark to inform the next. Vividly formed with rich, gestural and illustrative applications of paint, these figures brilliantly evolve to project their own scenarios and personalities. With each new painting, however, key elements of Mitch 77s Pluto remain.
Good Boy develops an aesthetic and poetic visual narrative through repetition. For Lee, the process of repetition affords the opportunity to explore, unravel and redefine an image and idea. Painting the same subject matter over and over, he creates many drawings and paintings from the same found images, allowing figurative elements to become abstract.
Visually informed by this process, Lee has also created a sculpture cast in bronze. Constructed using his sons basketball for the head, ping pong balls for eyes, and a kitchen sponge for the bowtie, this figure continues the striking, palpable and playful energy so distinctive to his oeuvre.
On his prolific practice, Lee explains: Most of the work has an element of humor in it. Whether the work is dark or light, there seems to be a twist in there... a glimpse of hope perhaps!
Good Boy opened at Olsen Gruin on October 10 and continues until November 18, 2018.
Rhys Lee (b. 1975) holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts, Graphic Design from the Queensland College of Art (1997). Lee has been exhibiting nationally and internationally for two decades. Lee's work has been included in Monomania, George Gallery, New York (2018); PABLOPABLOPABLO, Cabinet Printemps, Dusseldorf (2017); Group Show, BEERS London, London (2016); and Shot Off The Dices (curated by Rhys Lee), Nicholas Thompson Gallery Melbourne; Bad Painters, Sheffer Gallery, Sydney (2015). Selected solo exhibitions include Whistle World, Nicholas Thompson Gallery, Melbourne (2018); 10 Paintings & 100 Works on Paper, Nicholas Thompson Gallery, Melbourne; A Knife Through A Hand Through A Table, Ruttkowski;68, Cologne; Riders, Paul Nache Gallery, New Zealand (2017); and Spit Shine, Nicholas Thompson Gallery, Melbourne; Jungle Rum Rumble, Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane (2016). In 2012, he was a finalist in the prestigious Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales; The University of Queensland National Artist's Self Portrait Prize (2009) and the Doug Moran Prize at the State Library of New South Wales (2009). A monograph of the artist was published in 2009. Lee's works are held at the National Gallery of Australia; University of Queensland Art Museum; BHP Billiton; Art Bank, Sydney; United Bank of Switzerland; and many private collections in Australia, United States of America, Canada, Germany, Portugal, Denmark and Israel. Lee is represented by Olsen Gallery, Sydney; Nicholas Thompson Gallery, Melbourne; and Olsen Gruin Gallery, New York.