Hyunmee Lee is a South Korean artist who received her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts at Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea. Hyunmee exhibited her first gallery show in Sydney in 1989, with her work featured in the contemporary art book “Art Four”. After earning her Master’s degree at the Sydney College of Arts at University of Sydney, she returned to Korea for several years where she lectured at Hongik University and exhibited her artwork.
The artist moved to the United States in 1997, living in Utah where she joined the faculty of Utah Valley University shortly after. She exhibited her first solo show “Mountain Armatures” in the United States in 2002 at Orem’s Woodbury Art Museum in Utah. In 2005 she exhibited “When Gesture Finds Its Power” at the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum in Logan, Utah. Her next large-scale show “Intimacy Without Restraint” exhibited at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in 2006. After receiving tenure at Utah Valley University, Hyunmee retired from teaching in 2009 to concentrate on her art career. She currently shows with prominent galleries across the United States and Asia.
Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism from Hyunmee’s native Korean culture, a concept of meditation that results in a Zen-like form of enlightenment and connectedness that ties directly to her work’s process, and Western philosophical and psychological ideas about seeking harmony between the conscious and unconscious mind greatly influence her approach to life and her work as an artist. Through the power of these stimuli she strives to make “formless space” where she finds her creative mind—in the immediacy of gesture, especially the moment when gesture finds its power.
The artist’s work features gestural abstraction, a calligraphic narrative in which she seeks to present opposite forces — “East and West,” “determination and spontaneity,” “perfection and immaturity,” “emptiness and fullness,” and “completion and processing.” Employing these contrasting elements through form, color, marking, and layering is an important way she explores not only “self” and gain understanding about real life, but also a way of introducing energy and vitality into her recent work. Hyunmee’s art contains bold shapes that merge meditation and gesture. Objectivity, intentness on objects, is also very important; it relates to the elements of space and time