Katherine Lee's second solo show at Eight Modern, following last year's exhibition of her "Brazil Series" paintings, reflects a significant change in the work of the versatile 25-year-old artist. The 31 drawings that comprise Animal Violence and Topless Women Eating Jam represent a significant depar ture from her painted works, not only in medium and style but in subject matter as well.
The studied mastery of her craft, the freshness of approach and the iconoclastic attitude towards artistic tropes that g ave the unpeopled environments of Lee's Exterior paintings such affective power are still present in her drawings. However, the works in Animal Violence are grotesque and messily visceral, purposefully perverse and imbued with a gruesome wit.
"People are nothing if not violent and naked," Lee states. "I am of the belief that man will never be able to transcend these aspects of himself and thus perpetuates his own disappointment and doom in trying. Most of this work is based on the unhappy ending (you know - she dies, because she does, because life is like that). There is a beauty in embracing that horror." When asked about the origins of her exhibition title, Lee says "The pairing came about from two separate strings of association that collided at some point. Topless women eating jam are charming in a guilty kind of way. Animal violence was a phrase my brother used once, years ago, and since then I have never been able to get it out of my head." Whatever her inspirations, the artist has always openly disavowed interest in conveying messages.
"A work is successful not because of what it's about but because of how it is executed," Lee says. "Nude women and violence don't really mean anything specific to me, but I recognize that as subject matter, they function as beauty and drama."
A Santa Fe resident, Lee was born and raised in Iowa. She received her B.F.A. from the College of Santa Fe in 2008. Over the past six years, she has participated in numerous group shows and juried exhibitions.