RHYS LEE

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BIOGRAPHY

Victorian based Rhys Lee holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts, Graphic Design from the Queensland College of Art (1997). He has held solo exhibitions in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and internationally in New York. Lee's work has been included in group exhibitions at the Ian Potter Museum, Melbourne (2015), the Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (2012), Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery (2001), The University of Queensland National Artist's Self Portrait Prize (2009) and the Doug Moran Prize at the State Library of New South Wales (2009). A monograph on the artist was published in 2009. Lee's work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia and the Australian Government's Artbank.

ARTIST CV

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PAST EXHIBITIONS

WHISTLE WORLD

25 JULY TO 12 AUGUST

EXHIBITION PRESS

Queensland College of Art graduate Rhys Lee’s latest exhibition at Nicholas Thompson Gallery follows on from a sprawling exhibition he staged there in 2017, entitled 10 Paintings and 100 Drawings. This 2018 iteration is considerably smaller in scale. Whistle Work is made up of only nine medium to large paintings, but it takes off from where the artist left off. Lee is a prolific painter; his works might loosely be described as portraiture but they’re not really like any portraiture you have seen before. They nearly always include a face or the suggestion of a face; according to Thompson, “Lee considers this as almost a type of self-portraiture.” Most recently he has been painting images of psychotic poodles, all bulging eyes and maniacal, bared teeth. They offer a kind of perverted beauty: pampered animals rendered grotesque and mad. Weird too, they hold your gaze.

For Whistle Work he has painted cats too – who exude all the aloofness of an art connoisseur – menacing baboons and more poodles – or are they clowns? The new works continue Lee’s investigation into colour relationships, in his typical prolific mode of art making. He lets the imagery well up from his subconscious; the subjects that people his work are at times a nightmarish mix of cartoon characters, caricature and spooky horror tropes. It’s a show that pulses with a mania, a kind of gestural abstraction meets George Condo. His work owes a debt to Sidney Nolan and Albert Tucker, yes, but it is infused with a contemporary energy that is truly palpable. The palette too is a riot of colour. The art shouldn’t work but it does. Whistle Work opens at Nicholas Thompson Gallery, Melbourne on July 25 and shows until August 12, 2018.

EXHIBITION PREVIEW IN VAULT MAGAZINE

10 PAINTINGS & 100 DRAWINGS

14 OCTOBER TO 5 NOVEMBER 2017

EXHIBITION PRESS

"Rhys Lee’s painted protagonists slide between shapes and species like hallucinatory projections of subliminal currents. Bestial snouts and anthropoidean faces flicker with the familiar and strange, knocking humanity off its evolutionary throne into a shadowy subterranean world where renegade cowboys and carnivalesque outcasts lurk with predatory stealth..."

Extract from Elli Walsh exhibition article in current issue of Art Almanac - Read full version here.

"‘I always want to show everything that I make… get it out there! Otherwise it just sits in a studio pile or gallery stockroom,’ tells artist Rhys Lee. In his current, epic exhibition at Nicholas Thomson Gallery, he’s certainly been able to showcase a great deal of his most recent output – a rich and brilliantly perturbing exploration of the human condition."

Extract from Elle Murrell exhibition profile on The Design Files - Read full version here

10 PAINTINGS

100 DRAWINGS

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