Sarah Lee

Post-internet abstraction finds form in eerie moonlit snowscapes.

Sarah Lee sat in her studio in front of several large painted canvases
paintings on canvases stacked in front of one another behind a table of artistic tools and materials
small pots of paints in different shades of blue
6 images

Sarah Lee is a contemporary artist who was born in Seoul, Korea, and now lives and works in New York City, USA.

At Auction

Helping to raise money to combat racial hate crimes that arose in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Lee's work was included in the Artists Against Anti-Asian Violence Benefit Auction, organised by The Here and There Collective and Artsy in 2021.

Did you know?

In 2017 the artist founded Nail in a Pocket, a non-profit, artist-run project space in Pilsen, Chicago, where she also studies for her MFA in Painting and Drawing - graduating in 2017.

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Practice overview

Lee’s dreamlike paintings look like digital renders of themselves. Bulbous, icy landscapes coexist with abstract figuration in a palette centred on deep blues and black, lit by a series of eerie light sources in acidic pastels. The artist’s recent works use oil paint on canvas, lusciously pigmented and seamlessly blended to echo the airbrushed gradients of her earlier paintings. Nature is a key inspiration for Lee. Forests, galaxies and mountain ranges feature across her oeuvre with a wry theatricality that riffs on tropes like the enchanted forest or the mysterious full moon. Imbuing her paintings with emotion, the works explore themes of isolation, anxiety and love.

Snowman (2020) depicts an undulating landscape flanked by gelatinous trees. Three ambiguous figures protrude from the snow, none of them immediately legible as a snowman without the title’s direction. An electric wash of cyan, emanating from beyond the horizon and illuminating the furthest figure, feels alien to the scene - as if digitally added. This ambiguity sets Lee within a contemporary movement of post-internet painting which plays on juxtapositions between the physical act of painting and ever-evolving digital aesthetics. Comforting while also ominous, Lee’s enigmatic artworks probe the intersections of the familiar and the strange.