Strawberry Nose

COOPER COLE is pleased to present, Strawberry Nose, a solo exhibition by Jennie Jieun Lee. This exhibition mark’s the artists third solo exhibit at the gallery and will run from March 22 – May 11, 2024 in the gallery’s west exhibition space.

The actions around the creation of the works in this exhibition is centered around the concept of the ready-made, a term first coined over 100 years ago by the artist Marcel Duchamp. His most notable work, a facsimile of a urinal aptly titled Fountain, was made from porcelain using a slip-cast mold and marked a defining conceptual moment in the cannon of art history.

Flash forward 117 years and we find ourselves in the present, a time where environmental concerns around global warming are at the forefront of conversation, and artists with sustainable practices prove to be the voice of the time. To this effect, it was serendipitous when Jennie came across a large collection of ceramic molds from Holland and Alberta, two now defunct companies active in the 1970-80’s that are best known for creating a series of decorative homewares such as animals, tchotchkes, knick knacks, bookends, tableware, etc. There is an undeniable sense of nostalgia in the imagery and no doubt you would have seen examples on your grannies shelf, or collecting dust in a thrift shop over the years.

Building upon pre-existing forms designed for mass enjoyment, Jennie created this body of work to initiate dialogue surrounding domesticity, representation, history, and consumption, highlighting the evolving nature of each over time.

Some of Jennie’s found molds have never been poured, while others are well worn from multiple pours over the years. Each pour has been further manipulated by the artist by way of shape or glaze as they enter into a new dialogue.

As a sign of the times in which they were created, many of the molds are titled with culturally insensitive names. One mold in particular, Polynesian Woman Bust has been repatriated by the artist in critique of the tropes defined by the western lens of Orientalism. While exploring ideas of representation is a fundamental concept in Jennie’s practice, she actively leaned away from using molds with antiquated racial stereotypes to instead focused on the more domestic designs. Figures of thimbles, vases, felines (an homage to Penelope Umbrico’s ceramic cats series), literature, and fruits are all in the mix. One mold in particular is a heap of strawberries, which led to the title of the exhibition, Strawberry Nose, a childhood nickname she and her sister had given to her mother in reference to the size of the pores on her face.

This childhood critique of beauty is mirrored in the exhibition design. Sculptures are organized in a classical sense, unique groupings, each presented on plinths reminiscent of still life tableaus. They are set against a voluminous fabric backdrop, a draping photographic curtain titled Bruises which captures the intimate brushstrokes from one of Jennie’s expertly glazed stoneware vessels. This installation evokes battered sensibilities of the Renaissance, an impression that is advanced by the wall-based works in the show, a collection of bricolage objects that defy traditional definitions of a painting. Airbrushed and graffitied panels are layered with ceramic objects adhered to the surface (over-fired dishes recycled after use by the artist and her students for snacking during class at the

School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University). These pieces offer a disparate portrayal of nostalgic domesticity and critique towards the formalism of art history.

As a disruptor, Jennie Jieun Lee’s work continually pushes viewers to reconsider the traditional distinctions between sculpture and painting. Her pieces prompt us to question not only how artistic boundaries are evolving but also how societal and cultural influences shape our perceptions of world.

Jennie Jieun Lee (b. 1973 Seoul, South Korea) is a ceramist who has spent more than ten years defying the conventional limitations of her chosen media. The experimental approach to her practice sees her capitalize on the natural fragility of her medium, and apply a unique abstract gestural method to glazing. Her works range in scale from domestic size vessels to wall based compositions, to large scale structural installations. Conceptually her work is driven by ideas which speak towards representation, art and societal histories, and form. By challenging the historical perception of ceramics as symbols of controlled domesticity, Lee crafts busts, vessels, and paintings that blur the line between intention and chance, beauty and distortion.

Lee earned her MFA from California State University Long Beach and a studio diploma from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She is the recipient of several grants including Tisch Faculty Fellowship (2022), Art Matters Foundation Grant (2019), The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2017), and the Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant (2016). She has collaborated with fashion designer Alexander McQueen; and her work can be found in the permanent collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. Recent exhibitions include Cooper Cole, Toronto; Alexander Gray Associates, Germantown; AF Projects, Los Angeles; Halsey McKay Gallery, East Hampton; Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles; Martos Gallery, New York; The Pit, Glendale; and Marlborough Chelsea Viewing Room, New York. Lee currently teaches ceramics at School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University and lives and works in Sullivan County, New York, USA.

Special thanks to Graham Collins, Dominic Neitz, Wallpaper Projects, SMFA CLAY, and Daniel Grudder for their assistance with this exhibition.

For press and sales inquiries please contact the gallery:

+1.416.531.8000 info@coopercolegallery.com

Artworks

Jennie Jieun Lee

Bruises

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Jennie Jieun Lee – Bruises, 2024

Custom Printed Fabric

137.5" X 378"
349.25cm X 960.12cm

J.JL0046

Jennie Jieun Lee

SMFA CLAY

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Jennie Jieun Lee – SMFA CLAY, 2024

Glazed stoneware, porcelain, wood, acrylic paint

45" X 39.5" X 3"
114.3cm X 100.33cm X 7.62cm

J.JL0043

Jennie Jieun Lee

Stage 1

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Jennie Jieun Lee – Stage 1, 2024

Slip-cast porcelain, glaze

16 pieces, Dimensions variable

J.JL0047

Jennie Jieun Lee

Stage 2

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Jennie Jieun Lee – Stage 2, 2024

Slip-cast porcelain, glaze

13 pieces, Dimensions variable

J.JL0048

Jennie Jieun Lee

Stage 3

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Jennie Jieun Lee – Stage 3, 2024

Slip-cast porcelain, glaze

11 pieces, Dimensions variable

J.JL0049

Jennie Jieun Lee

Stage 4

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Jennie Jieun Lee – Stage 4, 2024

Slip-cast porcelain, glaze

13 pieces, Dimensions variable

J.JL0050

Jennie Jieun Lee

Stage 5

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Jennie Jieun Lee – Stage 5, 2024

Slip-cast porcelain, glaze

19 pieces, Dimensions variable

J.JL0051

Jennie Jieun Lee

Stage 6

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Jennie Jieun Lee – Stage 6, 2024

Slip-cast porcelain, glaze

11 pieces, Dimensions variable

J.JL0052

Jennie Jieun Lee

Strawberry Nose

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Jennie Jieun Lee – Strawberry Nose, 2024

Slip cast porcelain, glaze, oil, wood

38.4" X 23.6" X 3"
97.54cm X 59.94cm X 7.62cm

J.JL0044