Exhibition: 28 July – 2 September 2023
“I’m fascinated by the idea that humans have always attempted to map out their world at any given time in history,” says Australian painter Adam Lee, as he prepares for his summer solo exhibition with BEERS London. “It is a reflection of the human spirit to comprehend the unknowableness of the world”
Wrestling Smoke presents new paintings and watercolours that consider the human desire throughout history to understand the world evolving around us. Lee is drawn to questions of a deep, human nature, often talking about humankind’s journeys toward inaccessible or unknowable idea(l)s, be they based on religion, the sublime natural world, or deep dives into the personal and psychological. Wrestling Smoke, his fourth solo with BEERS, is no different, attempting to charter, through an artist’s process, the very unchartable characteristics of our natural world.
There is inherent in these paintings a subtle but powerful tension, an electromagnetic balance between sense perception and intellection, and an equivalent balance between the vertical and horizontal, as coded in the elevation and the plan, the vista and the map.
A suite of watercolour rounds out the exhibition. Watercolour has become an integral part of Lee’s practice. Not so much as studies or secondary works for other paintings, but as paintings in their own right. Lee seeks to further understand the possibilities of fluid pigment as a malleable substance capable of carrying a sense of fragility and transparency, as well as that which remains veiled; aspects fundamental to what it means to be human.Delicate, powerful, symbolic. Just a few words to guide viewers as they enter Lee’s metaphysical world. Lift the branch, watch your head, and let him guide you forward. Wrestling Smoke is the artist’s fourth exhibition with the gallery.
ADAM LEE (b. 1979, Melbourne, Australia) lives and works in Macedon Ranges, Victoria, Australia. He obtained a PhD from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 2015, and graduated with a Masters by Research and Bachelor of Fine Art from the same university in 2006 and 2002 respectively.
Solo exhibitions include: Dry Bones, Crying Stones, STATION, Sydney (2023); Wrestling Smoke, BEERS London, London (2023); World Sick Hermit, STATION, Melbourne, Australia (2022); O Restless Earth, STATION, Sydney (2020) ; My Thousand Sounds, BEERS London, (2019); Stratum with Jon Cattapan, STATION, Melbourne (2019), Monolith, Gertrude Glasshouse, Melbourne (2018), Lament Asunder (All is Dark is Midnight to Me), STATION, Melbourne (2017); This Earthen Tent, BEERS London (2017); Of a Great and Mighty Shadow, Angell Gallery, Toronto (2016); Eden. Exile. Babel, STATION, Melbourne (2015); A Long Obedience, BEERS London (2015). Lee was the inaugural recipient of the Glasshouse Stonehouse Residency in France 2017. The first monograph of his work, VOTIVE, was published through Perimeter Books in 2018.