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Solo exhibition: 'gwisin iyagi (ghost stories)' at Wook + Lattuada Gallery (NYC)

I am happy to share that I will be presenting a select body of work from my recent explorations at Wook & Lattuada Gallery in NYC, now on view through June 24th. Please reach out to the gallery to schedule an appointment to come view the works!

Timothy Lee

gwisin iyagi (ghost stories)

June 1 - June 24, 2023

NEW YORK - Wook + Lattuada gallery is pleased to present gwisin iyagi (ghost stories), Lee’s second exhibition with the gallery. Working across mediums, from paintings to cyanotypes and soft sculptures, Lee manipulates a variety of materials and processes in investigating the nature of ghosts as a foil to his personal history of immigration and addressing the trauma of non-belonging. The body of work presented is a reflection of, and response to, his meditation on a memory as a recent immigrant to the United States. An otherwise innocent night became a point of trauma – his first – when Lee experienced his first existential crisis as a child. It was the first time he felt “between states” – a space that he obsessively tries to capture throughout his practice. Lee treats the ghost within multiple frameworks, centering the premise of a ghost and its invisibility as non-belonging, but simultaneously its invisibility as one of assimilating. The ghost becomes a host for multiple narratives: ghosts as representing proximity to whiteness and societal integration, ghosts as dissociations from the scrutinized body, and ghosts as trapped between spaces.

Lee has always described his experience as a child immigrant as being “like a ghost between two cultures, wandering aimlessly through both and belonging to neither.” In never being quite American enough for his peers, but speaking with a heavy, Western tongue back in Korea, Lee traces his experiences growing up existing in the transient space between cultures, lacking a place to call home - particularly as a queer immigrant. In both Western and Eastern storytelling, the ghost is someone who has remained in the earthly realm in response to an unresolved life; battling cultural allegiances with the displacement he feels existing as a queer body in immigrant spaces, Lee's works – particularly those that use cyanotypes and the processes of overexposing as a metaphor for assimilation – results in ghostly images that appear to haunt the spaces they’re contained within. A hostility – that of unresolved acceptances – resonates within works that betray the smiles and playfulness that appear at the surface level. The artist and the ghost are both trapped, wandering in perpetuity within the liminal spaces between, waiting to move on.

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