A single stroke is not enough

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Clearly, with these works, Lee isn’t up to the challenge of either channeling or building upon the spellbinding accomplishments and artistry of those who have worked with single strokes before him.

The paintings’ background and brushstroke add up (or subtract down) to nothing and should never have met; the white canvases remain white canvases while the grayscale within the lone brushmark starts, transitions and ends predictably. The sizes and scale of the paintings could have gone in a number of directions, but it wouldn’t have made a difference; the gesture of the brushstroke begins and concludes within – literally – the flick of the wrist, leading nowhere? Somewhere? Anywhere? Take your pick.

It’s as if the artist has extended a direct plea to viewers to bring along their own alibi, their own explanation, for the purpose of the works, rather than offer them any real artistic merit; which is a surprise, as I know few artists of merit who would actually discuss the current state of contemporary aesthetics with their audience.

What you can say is that the exhibition turns on its head the fundamental artistic assumption that underwhelming art cannot garner fame, suggesting a remarkably valuable lesson for artists and viewers alike: that significant rewards can be had by just making an attempt.

LG Williams can be reached at www.lgwilliams.com

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