Lindy Lee Mystical Realism: A Record of Things Experienced

26 May –
23 June 2012

Sutton Gallery is pleased to present Mystical Realism: A Record of Things Experienced, an exhibition of new works by Lindy Lee which delves into the expansive and interconnected spiritual energies of fire and water. Melding history, sentiment and materiality, Lee’s embodiment of cosmic and elemental forces, expands upon her heartfelt spiritual practice, and expresses something direct and essential about human existence.

Lindy Lee’s practice explores her Chinese roots through the philosophies of Taoism and Buddhism, characterised by an awareness of humanity’s close relationship to nature and the universe. Employing the ideas of chance and spontaneity, she creates a galaxy of imagery that emanates philosophical meditations on nature and life.

Her works are intentionally slow to impart their secrets. Rather than singular visual statements, they are thoughtful objects where meaning emerges from sustained meditation. Conceptually concerned with the ancient universe, we are repeatedly offered ‘a grander vision of existence where the bonds of time are loosened and we are for a moment free’ (1).

This notion of “free” is delightfully expressed in Lee’s two spontaneous splats of molten bronze. Based on the ancient Chinese practice of ‘flung ink’ painting, where Ch’an (Zen) Buddhist monks would meditate for a period of time and then fling ink from a container. The mark that results from this action is seen to encapsulate the totality of the universe – the sum of all conditions which underlie the creation of ‘this’ moment. Lee’s use of searing liquid of molten bronze thrown on to the foundry floor mimics this process and is understood as an act of renewal, where all that is held inside oneself is released.

For Mystical Realism: A Record of Things Experienced, Lee incorporates a wonderful breadth of media presenting diverse works that are beautifully unified in their sentiment. Alongside a number of velvety black paintings, Lee presents a series of subtle yet richly layered works employing techniques inspired by unique and archaic practices, as boldly exemplified in Lee’s large scale works of pyrographic imagery produced by burning holes through sheets of milled steel. More sculptural than her previous paper and fire works, the shadow play created by the porous metal is ephemeral yet illuminating; ever-changing yet contemplative.

With a practice spanning over three decades, Lindy Lee has exhibited extensively in Australia and internationally. Selected solo exhibitions include Tales of Moonlight and Fire, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2008; Birth and Death, Artspace, Sydney, 2003; Narrow Road to the Interior, Atrium Space, MITA, Australian High Commission, Singapore, 2003; and No Up, No Down, I am the Ten Thousand Things, Project Space, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1995. Selected group exhibitions include Marking Time, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2012; Element, BIAC, Beijing, China, 2005; Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal, Montréal, Canada, 2005; Sight Seeing, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Downtown Gallery, Beijing, China, 2004; Photography is Dead, Long Live Photography, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 1996; Prospect 93, Frankfurt, Germany, 1993; Origins, Originality + Beyond, The 6th Biennale of Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1986; and On Location: Australian Perspecta, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1985.

Her work is included in numerous major public and private collections throughout Australia. A monograph of Lindy Lee will be published by China Link Foundation later this year.

(1) Damian Smith, ‘Lindy Lee – Making Time’, Marking Time, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2012, p.93

Artist’s profile