Brendan Lee is the winner of the 2020 Dominik Mersch Gallery/ Victorian College of the Arts Award, which is our annual award in collaboration with the VCA Masters of Fine Arts graduate program. As the winning artist, Lee presents a solo show of works at the Gallery to open the 2021 exhibition program.
Lee envisions fantastical realities through drawing, digital modelling and video production. His works are inspired by the crystalline objects and glass architecture of early 20th century utopian theories. Through fractal portraits and shifting metropolis structures, Lee recalls the visions of European architects Bruno Taut and Wenzel Hablik, who aimed to build a transcendental social experience through enchanting glass constructions. Lee’s mesmerising video work ‘Utopian Proximities’ pulls through through complex, floating towers to the sound of the artist’s heartbeat. Through this, he explores the affective qualities of physical and digital space that abstract the body.
“The digital video projection titled ‘Utopian Proximities’ utilizes the structures of crystals imaged under an electron microscope to reveal repetitive architectonic forms and qualities. … The digital 3D model consists of twenty components at varying scale, intersecting and reassembling, creating voids and assemblies. The patterns and shapes emulate the minerals at the microscopic level and envisions them at a macroscopic level; a symmetry apparent in the universe as posited by Hablik.”
Both his drawings and digital works propose a fantastical existence within an imagined crystalline reality. Fine graphite flecks radiate outwards in his detailed portrait drawings, insinuating an aura around a head.
“In these drawings, atmospheres, rocks, bodies of water and light are rendered in linear patterns and broken lines that can be considered traces of material things, natural forces and phenomena relating to light. The lines articulate entangled natural forces and vortex fields that coalesce and disintegrate structures that resemble rock islands. This effect produces an illusionary space reflected in turbulent and still pools of water, a fluidity that shifts objects from what was considered partially materialized to things that are airy, atmospheric and resembling human traces.”
Lee is also the recipient of the Fiona Myer Award (2020) and has been exhibited in NUTUREart, New York, Buxton Contemporary, Melbourne, the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, and the Parsons Paris Residency Exhibition, Paris.
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