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Joo Lee Kang’s Elaborate Ballpoint Pen Drawings
Joo Lee Kang works with ink. She creates portraits of animals: incredibly detailed, Audubon- or Durer-like. They’re so precious and — dare I say? — cuddly that you want to pet them. It’s not the medium that’s unique here: ink has been around for centuries. Nor is it the subject matter. Animals rendered in ink have figured as subject matter since at least the time of ancient Greece and before that, in caves. What’s unique is that Kang uses a ballpoint pen to transport the ink to the paper. Here, a pen by any other name- Biro, Bic — would work as well.
Born in South Korea and educated in Boston, Kang’s point of view is urban. That doesn’t necessarily explain the subject matter but it does explain the compositions. From a distance these menageries are lyrical if not ornamental. Some are called “Festoons,” “Wreaths,” and “Bouquets” If you didn’t know better, you’d say they looked like Victorian wallpaper.
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