Australian Art


  • Abstract
  • Contemporary
  • Drawings
  • Painter

Rhys Lee
Salads and Forecasts
December 2 - 18, 2004

“You’ve walked into someone else’s headspace. It’s vivid and strong, chaotic and alive. It’s familiar, and you can kind of hear the soundtrack, but its definitely not yours. Rhys‘s work is an amalgam of simply being, of absorbing everything he comes into contact with and letting it distill in his mind.”

Rhys’ paintings have a vitality and immediacy that is both refreshing and unnerving. His bold images vividly capture slices of current street culture in edgy and sophisticated colour combinations.

Rhys’ use of line, colour and composition invoke an urgency, an energy and one is left looking at a canvas that is sensual and haunting. The paintings are alive due to their simplicity and directness, but survive by seducing the viewer into a multitude of layers.

“This is an artist who likes to work broad and bold. Lee takes off from impromptu and almost automatic sketches. We see Lee’s figures and forms distended, dilated and augmented. His figures lounge, pout, stare, smoke and pose with a slacker casualness verging on disdain. These people are idiosyncratic characters, and yet are also vague, blank personalities. Pretty but dumb, they make up a languorous and droll, ambient crew, carelessly hanging out while checking each other out. They are what we look like when we look at our own contemporary models of good-looking deportment.

Lee’s artwork retains the structure and principles intrinsic to design and he merges this with painting and drawing to create a minimal figurative style defined by a strong gestural use of line, rich abstracted planes of colour, and a bold use of juxtaposition which allows surfaces to become engorged and enlivened.

Rhys has recently returned from New York where he worked on a large scale work in a gallery in.. painting directly onto the walls Rhys has a confidence and intuition that is presents beautifully in his work.

Some critics have likened Lee's use of 'nervous erotic contours' to that of Austrian artist, Egon Schiele; others, his 'primitive' use of line to 1980s art star Jean-Michel Basquiat. But perhaps the most apt and contemporary analogy, as offered by one writer, is the similarity in sensation of experiencing Lee's explosive combination of colour and imagery and the rush of street noise which overwhelms the senses when exiting an air-conditioned office building.

Lee revels in the act of doing. His main motivation is drawing - cool, casual and elegantly edgy. His compositions are informal and spontaneous and the seemingly artless execution barely hides a concern for deep personal connection, new meaning and social identity.

* excerpts from articles by Hannah Mathews , Edward Colless and Ken Wach.

Lives and works in Melbourne

1994-1997 Bachelor of Visual Arts, Graphic Design, Queensland College of Art, Brisbane
1993-1994 Certificate in Visual Art and Design, Bundamba Institute of TAFE, Brisbane

2004 Mountain peaks but not always, Helen Gory Galerie, Melbourne
2003 Try This In The Forest At Once, Helen Gory Galerie, Melbourne
Capitol Hill Rooting King,installation,
curated by Hannah Mathews[Curator, Ian Potter Museum]
RMIT Gallery, Melbourne
2002 the thoop bort show , Helen Gory Galerie, Melbourne
2001 Dries Instantly Helen Gory Galerie, Melbourne
Rubyayre Gallery, Sydney
2000 Loft Gallery, Fortitude Valley, Queensland
Rubyayre Gallery, Sydney
Stealing By Finding Helen Gory Galerie, Melbourne
1999 Fat 272 Chapel Street, Prahran, Melbourne

2001 Idn Fresh Conference 2001 Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre, Sydney
Patrizia Autore Gallery Melbourne
Clock On Models - Sydney Fashion Festival Lazerlight Studios, Sydney
Tops Show - Melbourne Fashion Festival Helen Gory Gallery, Melbourne
2000 Rubyayre Gallery, Sydney
Swan Hill National Print and Drawing Acquisitive Awards Swan Hill Regional Gallery
1999 Melbourne Fashion Festival; Helen Gory Galerie, Melbourne
The Hutchins Art Prize Tasmania
Brisbane Power House Centre For The Arts
Urban Groove Gallery, Brisbane

Oyster, ‘The Cut 08/09’ Vol 47, August/ September 2003, p.18
Black + White, ‘Theory of Everything’ Vol. 68 2003, p.08
3PBS Radio, interview with Fiona Gruber on ARTS RAVE, Tuesday August 5th, 7.30pm
Monument, July, 2003
Composite Magazine, Vol. 2 No. 29 April 2003
Australian Art Collector, August 2002, Edward Colless
Monument Magazine August 2001
Oyster Magazine Issue 37, 2001
Oyster Magazine Issue 35, 2001
Australian Style Magazine Issue 48, 2001, 3 pages
Processed Magazine Issue 1, 2001, 8 pages
Oyster Magazine Issue 32, 2000, 4 pages
ABC TV Coast 2 Coast August 2001
Review” Australian Style Magazine Issue 55, 2001
“Review” Oyster Magazine Issue 36, 2001
Stylefile #47 StyleByte 47, Linlee Allen, August 2001
Edward Colless “Smart Art for under $2000” Australian Art Collector Issue 14, Oct-Dec 2000, p.65
Interview with Breakfasters, RRR Radio, August 2000
Tim Scott, “Brash and Grab”, Melbourne Tribe Online, August 2000
“Review” Inpress, August 2000
Tobi Cohen, “Stealing by Finding”, TRM, vol 3, Issue 12, September 2000
“Review” The Age 2000
“Review” Inpress Issue 623, 2000


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