chicago

Li Lin Lee

Walsh Gallery

Li Lin Lee’s recent paintings are certainly formulaic—each of the sixty-eight paintings shown here is made of oil, wax, and alkyd on plaster-coated burlap mounted onto canvas; each is sixteen by twelve inches and is presented edge-to-edge in a horizontal group of four, creating seventeen works in all; and each is structured around some overt geometric shape or hard-edged pattern that Lee paints onto a richly scumbled and muted monochromatic field. They are like glyphs or pictographs, integers in some personal language impossible to decode fully. Lee’s work invites visual and formal delectation and, as with indecipherable hieroglyphics, holds the optical shape and structure of language while keeping its content a mystery; it allows the activities of looking and reading to slide into one another. In other words, Lee’s paintings imply rather than deliver transparent communication.

Many of

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