Don't Look Back
Priska C. Juschka Fine Art is pleased to present Don’t Look Back, Korean Lee Berre’s first solo exhibition in the United States. Lee Berre’s paintings, mixed media on wood panel, engulf and captivate their audience with strangely mysterious and intimate content implying a universal, yet highly personal, subject matter.
With this show, she introduces psychologically charged portraits of girls of heterogeneous physiognomy, expressing various emotions such as fury and sorrow, joy and excitement. Stereotypical innocent girlish looks contrast with those of naughty teenagers and angry child-women alluding to a much more complex emotional fabric than initially apparent.
Lee Berre allows us to penetrate the different layers of psychological tissue while keeping the viewer at bay – banned from actually revealing her own most personal stories. Her story remains unveiled to the observer, although he or she may detect a glimpse of the thread of history... and its preceding events – what may have happened at an earlier date.
Borrowing from pop culture, Lee Berre plays with our dearest Western icons and cultural references. Among them are Alice, Rapunzel, Salome and Joan of Arc – all large figures, in mixed media, superheroines in life or over-life size, clutching a teddy bear (Salome) or being wrapped in the loose ends of a huge bow (Rapunzel)... Flaunting lollipops and Hershey’s sweets, Lee Berre teases with her paintings, provoking the viewer to ask the more and more prevailing question – what’s behind this façade of a happy/unhappy girl or young woman? Siamese sheep on an elliptical surface, with pink bows and M&Ms scattered around them, seem to reference the female/human condition. The title Same Shame allures to the fact that even though her heroines appear to be surrounded by a colorful coulisse, they seem to be bound by their predetermined existence and their predestined fate. A baby, in another oval-shaped painting bears the title For Sale and wears a harlequin hat. Lee Berre dares to charge that even the youngest don’t seem to be spared by the cruelty of predetermination and predisposition. Innocence appears to be lost at an early age and never ‘rekindled’ – what remains may be insecure adolescents or angry teenagers in spiritual limbo without any hope of redemption.
Lee Berre lives and works in Seoul, Korea. Her work has appeared in several solo and group exhibitions in South Korea and Europe. She has also written and assisted with art direction for Vogue magazine, GQ magazine, W magazine, Magazine P and The Bling magazine. Her interior design work includes the Adidas division of the Pentaport Rock Festival, Seoul, Korea; Gallery Ochae, Soma Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea; and the Seoul Sadang Welfare Center, CI Design, Seoul, Korea.