Exhibition: Fugazi, Monte Clark Gallery, Vancouver

Evan Lee, from Fugazi, 2015, archival pigment print

Evan Lee
March 12, 2016 to April 9, 2016
Opening reception: Saturday March 12, 2pm to 4pm

Monte Clark Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Evan Lee.

Lee’s new series Fugazi consists of visually stunning 5-by-5 foot prints created from digital scans of cubic zirconia, relatively inexpensive but high quality imitations of diamonds (“Fugazi“ is a slang term used in Mafia films for counterfeit diamonds.) The images are captured at a high level of detail and enlarged fifteen thousand percent to a scale that renders the gems’ internal appearance mesmerizingly random, distorted and fractured, while the effects of digital image-loss and artifacting emerge to aid in their visual transformation. The patterns of abstract shapes and reflected colours appear kaleidoscopic and at times groundless, an aesthetic that Lee manipulates further by constructing geometric backgrounds in response to the resulting visual space.

Lee’s project reflects on his earlier works, such as the Dollar Store Still Life series (2006), which also examined the economic and cultural values of fake and artificial consumer goods. Fugazi also continues Lee’s take on representations of psychedelia, illusion and optics, as explored in such earlier works as Every Part from a Contaflex Camera… (2006)and the Stain (2003) and Phoropter (2012) series. Lee’s practice has always been positioned both alongside and against the grain of photography, and Fugazi continues the artist’s image production in the avant-garde reaches of the post-photographic or camera-less digital realm. Contrary to the reproducible nature of photography, each of the Fugazi prints, made on fine art paper, exists only as a signed unique edition of one.

Alongside Fugazi, Lee will also present works from a complementary series entitled Ichiban. In these new works, Lee mixes paint and instant ramen noodles with other found objects to create experimental sculptures that consider the artificial nature of “instant” food, as well as reflecting on ephemeral form and temporality in the artworks themselves. Taken together, both Fugazi and Ichiban allude to the complex relationship between that which is “real” and that which is “artificial” in our contemporary culture and art.

Evan Lee lives and works in Vancouver, B.C. His first major solo exhibition “Captures” was held at the Presentation House Gallery in North Vancouver in 2006, and included catalogue essays by Jeff Wall and Peter Culley. Since then, Lee has exhibited in numerous museums and institutions including the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Windsor, the Contemporary Art Gallery, the Surrey Art Gallery, the Richmond Art Gallery, the Confederation Centre for the Arts, the Liu Hai Su Art Museum, and at the Winnipeg Art Gallery as a Sobey Award Finalist in 2014. Lee’s work has been published in Canadian Art Magazine, Art on Paper, Border Crossings, Flash Art, Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art and numerous other venues.