Ellee SY Lee

Ellee SY Lee is a Korean-Canadian, Toronto-based artist. She was an abstract painter after majoring in drawing and painting at OCAD University in 2006. However, her personal situation had made it hard for her to keep painting. She had to go back to Korea in 2010 and worked as a manager at a private school. As the years passed, her longing for art grew stronger. So, she returned to Canada and started painting again in 2020. Now, she appreciates art and enjoys painting more than ever before.

Artist Statement
I make imaginary paintings that oscillate between abstraction and representation, exploring forms, mark making, perspectives, and painting styles. I find inspiration in a wide range of sources: personal memories, nature, philosophical notions of the Eastern and Western, scientific views on the world, and other artworks like that of Post impressionism, Spiritual abstraction, Post-pop landscapes, and more. The strange aspect of painting which gives a sense of connectivity and sensibility keeps fascinating me and makes me continue to experiment painting on its visuality. Moreover, through painting, I want to embrace naturalness, simplicity, and spontaneity, hoping that it can offer a vicarious escape and temporary respite from a fatiguing and monotonous world.

All artworks are subject to availability.

Innerscape Series:
This series of Innerscape is inspired by the Korean traditional landscape, “San Su Hwa” which depicted mountains and waters with simple lines and spontaneous mark-makings and emphasized the beauty of naturalness.

The Way Things Are Series:
This series of The Way Things Are is inspired by the Eastern philosophical teaching that accepting the nature of things and all phenomena as they are in the moment helps reduce suffering. Painting can be a meditative practice where interventions of the irregular and contingency are allowed to discover new forms and feel a sense of immediacy.

Walking With You Series:
This series of Walking With You is inspired by my memories and impressions of the scenery of the places I’ve seen during a walk. I like to go to different parks in the city and find the beauty of their landscapes. So I’m compelled to transform them into a painterly space. In the process, I use photo references as a starting point. Then, I stretch them from different directions and reconfigure them within the interplay of perspective, colours, lines, and shapes.