Gordon Lee brings an unflinching eye and technical virtuosity to his paintings of everyday objects and Chinese cultural icons. Focusing on simple mechanical objects such as cameras, typewriters or a water fountain, Lee painstakingly reveals the myriad components of such mundane objects. His unwavering frontal approach aligns each object with the background revealing his skill and delight at replicating a variety of surfaces such as glistening tile, metallic keys, and chrome. There are several works referencing his Chinese roots such as Portrait of a Cloistered Mao and Nirvana High. The former features a larger than life image of Mao, warts and all, blown up from a 10 Yuan taped to the painting’s surface. The painting replicates the engraved version found on the paper currency in a bold combination of greens and blues. Nirvana High plays on the jarring juxtaposition of a psychedelic backdrop with the peaceful image associated with the Buddha sitting atop a toothpick dispenser.
Gordon Lee was born in the British colony of Hong Kong. He attended college in Canada and then received a Master’s Degree in Painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield, Michigan. Before returning to Hong Kong in 1982, he taught at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio. While in Hong Kong, Lee taught at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He later moved back to the United States and resumed teaching at CCAD. His work has been shown in Asia, Europe and North America.