Archival inkjet print
61 x 61 cm
Courtesy the artist and Monte Clark Gallery, Vancouver
Evan Lee often works outside of photographic conventions, exemplified by this unique print produced without a camera. This high-resolution digital scan of cubic zirconia, magnified fifteen thousand percent, is indicative of the provocative themes that recur in the artist’s cross-disciplinary practice. This print is from a new, eponymously titled series, that extends his interest in visual transformation and psychedelia, as in the Phoropter (2012) and Stain (2003) series, and the economic and cultural worth of fake goods as in Dollar Store Still Life (2006). “Fugazi” is a slang term,for counterfeit diamonds drawn from Mafia films, and fittingly so; Lee’s captivating new works reveal the tabooed beauty of a fake synthetic material. Here, the artist’s considerations of both mirage and economy are evident in the kaleidoscopic playfulness of this image.
Lee’s Fugazi captures a crystal rich with variegated textures and vivid colours. Yet, the enlargement results in inevitable loss of detail with sections flattened into blurred, hyper-saturated mosaics. The depthless colour spills outside the central form, creating a polygonal plane on which the zirconia floats. This digital distortion is reminiscent of three-dimensional stereoscophy. A fraught cultural symbol, the cubic zirconia carries multiple interpretations: one can debate whether it conveys an ersatz, ostentatious glamour, or an assertion of its own quirky validity, independent of an authentic diamond.
Evan Lee (b. 1975, Vancouver, BC) lives and works in Vancouver. His first major solo exhibition Captures was held at the Presentation House Gallery in 2006, and the catalogue included essays by Jeff Wall and Peter Culley. Since then, Lee has exhibited in numerous museums and galleries including the Monte Clark Gallery, Vancouver; Vancouver Art Gallery; the Art Gallery of Windsor; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver’ Surrey Art Gallery; Richmond Art Gallery; the Confederation Centre for the Arts, Charlottetown; and the Liu Hai Su Art Museum, Shanghai as well as the Winnipeg Art Gallery as a Sobey Award Finalist in 2014. Lee’s work has been widely published and collected.