Austin Lee - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Thursday, July 9, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Postmasters Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘If I just made a painting physically first, I might not arrive at that. On the computer, it’s endless drawings. I could just draw forever and there’s no risk and I can try everything.’ Austin Lee
    Quoted in Kristin Tauer, “Austin Lee Mounts Solo Exhibition ‘Feels Good’ at Jeffrey Deitch, WWD, 6 March 2019, online.

    Mary Heilmann
    The Red Screen, 1995

    Philip Guston
    Inside, 1969
    American visual artist Austin Lee’s practices investigate the technology saturated environment we inhibit , his signature airbrushed acrylic works bridge the digital and the physical to create luminous paintings that seem to appear on a computer screen. The instantly recognizable brightly-saturated aesthetic is the result of fusing the traditional painting process with the latest digital image making tools.

    Slapstic (Action Painting) is a humorous example of Lee’s cartoonish digital action paintings, drawn from a video made by the artist’s friends who reenacted the slap from an online clip that inspired his recreation on canvas. Lee used an iPhone app to simulate slow motion from the video clip and adopted the smear frames technique that animators use to draw a character’s movement between two keyframes in an exaggerated way. Depicting a particular moment of the slapping action, the present work is translated from an iPad sketch to the canvas using airbrush to create the blur of the moving hand. His working method is exemplary for the generation of digital natives to which he belongs, by harnessing the inherent aesthetic of his digital tools to convert the pixels to the exuberant fluorescent colours on canvas. Citing pop artist like Philip Guston and Mary Heilmann as his influence, his playful paintings and joyful approach to colours stem from an exploration into our digitally immersed environment to find the best way to replicate computer-generated visual effects into the physical realm.
    David Hockney
    The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011- 4 May, 2011
    It also calls to mind David Hockney’s vibrant iPad drawings, in which Lee demonstrates a similar passion for experimentation with new technology, while embracing trial and error during the creative process.

    With upcoming solo exhibition at M Woods Museum, Beijing (2020) and Peres Projects, Berlin(2020), Lee’s has been honored with several solo shows in the past years at Mine Project, Hong Kong (2019), Jeffrey Deitch, New York (2019), Mosaic Art Foundation, Istanbul (2018) and Kaikaikiki, Tokyo (2017).


Slapstic (Action Painting)

signed, titled and dated 'AUSTIN LEE 2012 "Slapstic (Action Painting)"' on the overlap
acrylic on canvas
177.8 x 172.7 cm. (70 x 67 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2012.

HK$100,000 - 200,000 

Sold for HK$325,000

Contact Specialist
Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 9 July 2020