September 27-November 30
This story was featured in the October 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art October 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
When Jivan Lee moved from New York to New Mexico to pursue his passion for creating art, he was following his dreams—literally. During a stint in Albuquerque several years ago, Lee had a vivid dream that encouraged him to visit the University of New Mexico branch in Taos. Within the first hour of wandering the campus, he had a chance encounter with the academic dean. “Before I knew it I had accepted a teaching job at UNM,” he says with a laugh. Not long after moving to Taos, he had another dream that inspired him to focus on becoming a professional artist. Lee has been painting full time since 2010, and he’s quickly gaining recognition for his colorful and heavily textured plein-air works. This month the artist presents 30 to 40 works in a solo show at Heinley Fine Arts. An opening reception with Lee is on Friday, September 27, from 5 to 8 p.m.
While much of Lee’s earlier work in New York focused on the figure, he has produced a large volume of landscapes since moving to Taos. “The New Mexico landscape is so compelling that I can’t help painting it,” Lee says. Yet he wants to avoid being pegged as solely a landscape painter. “I still really enjoy painting figurative works,” he says, adding that while his subject matter has certainly shifted recently, the most important changes in his work have to do with how, not what, he paints. Such changes include working with a lot more paint (usually a liter or more) and on a much larger scale (up to 10 feet wide), while remaining committed to painting on site. Moreover, Lee says, “The real shift has been in exploring the idea of paint as a material itself.” Indeed, there’s a three-dimensional aspect to his paintings that’s almost sculptural.
Ultimately, the artist hopes to instill a sense of awe in the viewer—to help them look at the world with fresh eyes and newfound appreciation. “That’s why I spend my time doing this,” he says. “To see the world anew as much as I can, and to gift that experience to others.” —Lindsay Mitchell
Featured in the October 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art October 2013 print issue or digital download
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