Blending digital technology with classic paintings of the East and West is the challenge of Lee nam Lee, whose exhibition A Conversation Between Monet and Sochi will run at the Dennos Museum Center through March 27.
A sculptor by background and a master of digital technology, Lee nam Lee brings wall-sized paintings to life, even to the point of interacting with other paintings.
In the exhibits main work, a waterscape painting by French impressionist Claude Monet (1840-1926) is projected side-by-side with a water scene by Korean artist Sochi (1803-1893) on a 40-foot-wide wall. Other than their shared use of water, the paintings are completely different in style. Yet by using digital technology, Lee nam induces the paintings to move and interact.
A fisherman pilots a tiny boat from the Monet painting to that of Sochis work. Seasons change and day becomes night while an island in the Sochi painting migrates to Monets lake. The lights of two cities -- Paris and Seoul -- glimmer in the snowy distance as night falls, with sublime images captured in the dawn -- all in the space of 11 minutes.
At the exhibition, various paintings will also be shown in backlit frames. In Vermeers Girl with a Pearl Earring, the celebrated Dutch girl sheds a digital tear. Elsewhere, a Van Gogh self-portrait comes to life with the aid of pulsing digital colors.
A sculptor by background, Lee nam was born in Damyang, Korea in 1969 and holds an MFA from that countrys Chosen University as well as a DFA from Yonsei University. His digital imagery brings its own vivid quality to the work of great artists, and as in the case of his cityscapes, he expands the viewers imagination beyond the bounds of masterpieces created in the 19th century.
I saw an exhibition of his work in Beijing and knew we had to have it shown here, says Dennos Director Gene Jenneman. While Lee nam has shown his work in over 200 exhibitions in Korea, Beijing, New York and Washington, D.C., the Traverse City event will be his first solo exhibition of his Monet and Sochi work as well as other digital recreations.
-- by Robert Downes
The Dennos Museum Center is open Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, Thursday until 8 p.m. and Sundays 1-5 p.m. Admission is $6 adults, $4 for children and free to museum members. For more information on the Museum and exhibition, go to http://www.dennosmuseum.org or call 231-995-1055. The museum is located at the entrance to the campus of Northwestern Michigan College.