Arthur Kwon Lee is a Korean American painter whose gestural mark making harmonizes expressive color palettes with world mythologies. His work has won awards from George Washington University, the Overseas National Institute, the Korean Artists Association, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Lee draws inspiration from a broad range of sources including Jungian psychoanalysis, local religious traditions, and his lifelong commitment to martial arts.
Prior to developing a love for painting, Lee was a Division One athlete who placed in the US Tae Kwon Do Nationals for three consecutive years. Lee has carried this martial intensity into his artwork where it translated into large-scale works and a diversity of dynamic brushstrokes. The resulting compositions attest to an artist who uses his entire body to paint symbolically evocative works that contain oblique references to archetypal myths from around the world. Luminous colors, gestural expressionism, and philosophical acumen bring a refreshing sentiment to art that draws our sometimes compartmentalized and fractured times into a synthetic, representative whole.
“My paintings animate archetypal imagery from our collective unconscious through the lens of historical symbolism and mythologies. The work is a combination of philosophical research, martial arts and personal religious experiences. By rendering significant cultural figures under a maelstrom of intense color harmonies both a subjective and objective conversation is created. This, with the diversity of mark making and pixelated rendering technique is where my language is made. In terms of materiality, I paint on large canvasses with acrylic. When entering my studio, one sees a scattering of texts by Barthes, Campbell or Jung at one turn, only to an array of paint splattered across the walls at another. With that in regard my paintings can be described as a marriage between psychoanalytical imagery and fauvism.
During my time in George Washington University, I found a predilection towards figure painting and history courses. This, in conjunction to my love of color and regular discourses at the Jung Society of Washington brought forth my voice as a painter. When I was a child my parents told me that the role of the artist is to expand the domain of order onto the world of chaos. This took form as large scale and dramatic figurative work with oblique philosophical influences across the globe.”