Category Archives: All Entries

Captives / Adamas 2021

In contrast to the “fake” diamonds used to produce Fugazi (2016), the gems pictured in Captives/Adamas (2020) are genuine diamonds of high quality and price. In these photographs, however, the diamonds appear in an unfamiliar form—they are uncut. Through extensive focus and exposure stacking—a macro-photography technique where limited depth-of-field requires areas of exposure and focus to be composited together—Lee captures these otherworldly rough gems as objects of great value that have yet to come into existence. This idea of the “yet-to-emerge” is reflected in the first half of the title, Captives, which refers to Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures, where partially carved figures emerge from rough, untouched marble. The second half points to the Greek origin of the word “diamond”: Adamas, meaning “invincible, indestructible and unyielding.” The duality produced by these two seemingly disparate words suggests the paradoxical values we hold in contemporary culture: captive, yet emergent; indestructible, yet unformed—manifesting in cultural obsessions with eternal youth and power. (Kate Henderson)

Exhibition: Evan Lee | Forged | at Art Gallery at Evergreen

Evan Lee: Forged Opening Reception | Sunday, November 21st, 2021
2-4 PM | Opening Remarks 2:45pm
We are hosting our first public opening reception since the
start of the pandemic for the exhibition Evan Lee: Forged
on Sunday November 21st from 2-4pm at the Art Gallery at
This is a solo exhibition of photography, painting and
sculpture by Evan Lee, a Vancouver-based Chinese Canadian
artist who explores the limits and possibilities of materials
(particularly lens-based media) through experimentation,
adaptability and an economy of means.
Vaccine passports are required to attend the event. Masks are
required in doors, and we encourage everyone to continue
practicing social distance. Opening remarks will take place
at 2:45pm. This event is wheelchair accessible.
Register here:

Exhibition: Full Circle, Monte Clark Gallery


19 September to 19 October, 2019

Opening Reception 19 September

Monte Clark Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Evan Lee. Full Circle includes figurative oil paintings that are derived from the artist’s original photography, displayed alongside photographs printed on canvas.

Known as an artist who works in a wide range of media, Evan Lee has been particularly interested in the space between painting and photography. In past projects such the Forest Fire, Flashers and Black Blot/Black Bloc series, Lee improvises with imaging technologies and traditional techniques to create photo-painting hybrids that defy categorization. With his Fugazi and Ginseng Root series as well as his Migrant Ship Re-Creation Project, Lee explores ways to activate the non-rational in photography through his use of lensless and appropriated images. In his new work, digital artifacts and jpegs from the artist’s own photographs are translated into paint and pigment.

In Full Circle, Lee uses technology to invoke the poetic, exploring the people and places of his Vancouver home as subject. In stark contrast to the unexpected colour and surface of the oil paintings, the large photographs printed on canvas are simply enlarged and not altered in any way. Speaking plainly, the they reveal the true nature of photographic depiction while simultaneously reflecting on it. Together, these works continue Evan Lee’s exploration of pictorial possibilities.

Evan Lee, detail, Hole In Glass, 2019, photograph.

Evan Lee, In a Restaurant, 2019, oil on canvas


Public Art/Exhibition: Evan Lee: Fugazi, Teck Gallery, May 11, 2019 – Apr 26, 2020

Photo by Blaine Campbell

Evan Lee: Fugazi

Teck Gallery

May 11, 2019 - Apr 26, 2020
Evan Lee's image-based practice takes up interdisciplinary considerations of vision and
constructions of value through photography, painting and sculpture. In particular, Lees work
examines the aesthetic and social consequences that occur in the evolution of images and
imaging technology. His yearlong photo-based installation, Fugazi at the Teck Gallery,
considers methods of image capture as they effect ways of seeing and how value is socially

Fugazi begins from photographic scans of cubic zirconia, a relatively inexpensive crystalline
form of synthesized material that often stands in for diamonds.[1] The images are captured
in detail and enlarged to a scale that transforms the gemstones internal appearance to one
that magnifies the distortion and fracture of light. Capturing is integral to photography and
Lees image capture opens up space for the questioning of optic purity, of the cubic zirconia
and of the image itself (as the act of enlargement results in a loss detail). The resulting
abstract patterns and refracted colours in Fugazi present a destabilizing kaleidoscopic
effect, similar to sunlit stained-glass windows.

Because of low cost, durability, purity, and visual likeness, cubic zirconia has been seen as a potential solution to the controversy surrounding the rarity and valuation of diamonds.
However, the diamond monopoly persists in perpetuating and fabricating worth through
other cultural measures. Fugazi is a fictionalized slang term for a counterfeit gemstone.[2]

The captures of the tiny gemstones are scaled up and bisected for the Teck Gallery to
fenestral proportions, and in their installation begin to share a language of architecture,
landscape and development. In dialogue with the Teck Gallerys view overlooking Burrard
Inlet and North Vancouvers coastal mountains, Fugazi is an intervention in the edifice,
mimicking and making strange aspects of building and its design, akin to a faceted window
illuminated from behind. Conjuring spaces of worship, the installation speaks to economies
of belief including religion, education and capitalism. Rising like mineral suns, Fugazi
positions the images along a horizon line that connects with our daily planetary rotations
while also drawing lines to the extraction industries and the appetite for development that
Vancouver is built on.[3]

Fugazi carries an open-ended resonance in relation to value and land. Extraction economies
are increasingly being challenged in this moment of late capitalism where climate change is
an oppressive force and a turn to renewal and alternate solutions are called for. Our relation
to land as a site of colonization is showing its irreversible damage to cultural and
environmental ecologies. In its consideration of the complexity of vision, Fugazi asks us to
unpack how we understand value in the image and its referents.

Lee is a Vancouver based artist whose work has been exhibited nationally and
internationally. He received his MFA from the University of British Columbia. Exhibitions
include Libby Leshgold Gallery; Winnipeg Art Gallery; Richmond Art Gallery; Kamloops Art
Gallery; Vancouver Art Gallery; Capture Festival; SFU Gallery; Contemporary Art Gallery;
Presentation House Gallery; Contact Photography Festival; Le Mois de la Photo Montreal;
Liu Hai Su Museum; and Confederation Centre. Lees work has been featured in Border
Crossings, Flash Art International, Lapiz International Art Magazine, Yishu Journal of
Contemporary Chinese Art, Canadian Art, and Art on Paper. He was shortlisted for the
Sobey Art Prize in 2014 and has undertaken public art commissions. His work is
represented by Monte Clark Gallery.
Curated by Melanie O'Brian

SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street
Vancouver BC

Public Art/Exhibition: Double Meaningless, No.3 Road Art Columns, Richmond

The City of Richmond invited me to mentor emerging Richmond Artists Crystal Ho and Chad Wong to produce public artworks on the theme of Migration. I wanted to try something a little different and work with text and language. My project, Double Meaningless, 2018 is a response to the ongoing debate in Richmond over signage and English language requirements.