John Lee / Paintings
InteriorsStill LifeSelf PortraitsStudent WorkDrawingsOlder Work
I am primarily a painter of interior spaces. I am stopped by certain color situations that I perceive in the world around me (personal living spaces, work spaces, commuting spaces) and consequently want to construct a space that expresses that color. I am naturally interested in the latent color found in darker spaces, weathered walls, discolored paint, rust, and the color created by contrasting light sources (natural vs. fluorescent light, for example). This is a gritty, charged, color nuance that lurks in the shadows and passing spaces.

While my work begins with an Intimist impulse: the surprise of a color relationship found in a familiar location, the forming of the painting relates to a Constructive impulse: building with line and shape, looking for angles and movements that carry one through the painting in a meaningful way. Intimists tend to work on a smaller scale while Drawing (for me) requires a relatively larger scale. I have found that working on a ‘medium’ scale allows me to incorporate both of these needs in the work.

I want to express an eerie, weighty mood with my paintings. I strive for color that is simultaneously pulsating and discreet, rich yet compressed, airy and fluid yet dense. The construction of the space needs to feel dynamic and rhythmic, yet solid, spatial, and full of gravity. I paint for the thrill of getting the planes to ‘sit’, the tones to lock together, the activation of the light and space, and the open, give-and-take process that is, for me, the truly expressive component of Painting.