Of A Great and Mighty Shadow

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Zim Zum (Three Tabernacles), 2016 Oil And Synthetic Polymer Paint On Canvas 86" X 132" © Courtesy of the Artist and Angell Gallery
Of A Great and Mighty Shadow

1444 Dupont Street
Unit 15
M6P 4H3 Toronto
June 3rd, 2016 - July 2nd, 2016
Opening: June 3rd, 2016 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Wed-Sat 12-5pm or by appointment


ANGELL GALLERY is proud to present ADAM LEE: OF A GREAT AND MIGHTY SHADOW, the North American debut exhibition by this Melbourne, Australia-based artist. The exhibition will be view in both the Main Gallery space and the Project Gallery from June 3 to July 2, 2016. An opening reception will be held on Friday, June 3, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.

A family portrait under an overarching rainbow. A funeral scene with twelve mourners watching over an embalmed body, their faces aglow with orange radiance. Tear-like drops of light or fire falling from the sky above and touching figures and landscapes below. These are the symbols and imagery of a world constructed by Australian painter Adam Lee in Of A Great and Mighty Shadow.

Lee takes cues from an eclectic range of mystical, religious and cultural references within art history and literature in his development of imagery and symbolism to explore the overarching theme of a divine shadow cast across our personal and collective sense of human history. Many of the figures in these paintings appear with glowing faces, whereby the illumination of light casts a shadow, revealing a kind of transfiguration taking place. This symbolism exists as both a shade of the past and a shadow of things to come.

Importantly Lee also weaves elements of his own family heritage and experience into the works. Here the imagery of the shadow becomes a powerful reference to the past, as well as metaphoric of a larger presence at play in the affairs of human experience. In works such as A Transfiguration and Zim Zum (Three Tabernacles) Lee makes references to aspects of Jewish mysticism, where the imagery of the shadow was often used as a means of describing the nature of God as a place under which humankind might take refuge or shade. Importantly it was also seen as symbolic of a point of recreation between humankind and a divine world. Lee takes these ideas further in relation to exploring his own sense of family and self, through works such as The Namesake, a double portrait of the artist and his deceased grandfather who both share the same name. Here the artist appears as though looking back in time, or perhaps even gazing forward to the future, aware of a connectedness between generations, people and places. In this sense Lee’s paintings not only touch upon the artist’s own sense of personal history and family, but also wider universal concerns related to a communal understanding of belonging and place.


Another painting, Threshold, takes its genesis from a collected photograph of the front gate at the childhood home of the artist’s father. Here, though, it appears as if being a point between two worlds, a marker between the past and the present or perhaps this world and another unseen dimension. In this way Lee’s work touches not only upon a nostalgic sense of our past and its connections with our experience of the present, but projects a kind of prophetic imagery which might point toward future events and times as well.

Adam Lee lives and works Macedon Ranges, just outside of Melbourne, Australia, where he recently completed his PhD at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.  Recent solo-exhibitions include, A Long Obedience at BEERS London, UK (2015) and Eden. Exile. Babel. at Station Gallery, Melbourne (2015). Lee was hand-picked by Kim Dorland to be included in his curated exhibition, I Paint 2 at Angell Gallery. Artist Andrew Salgado included Lee in a group exhibition, Fantasy of Representation at BEERS London. Lee has been named a finalist for The Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize (2015 & 2013), the Geeolong Contemporary Art Prize (2014), the National Works on Paper Prize (2014) and The Churchie National Emerging Artist Award (2012).

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