With a growing reputation for his approach to conveying the visceral experience of the landscape that has now made him a leading figure of contemporary landscape painting, Jivan Lee’s newest work manifests a deep interest in the formations of the land around him as subject matter that is in a constant state of transformation.
Painted onsite from direct observation among the great mountains, rivers, and sunsets of New Mexico, Jivan’s art is a visual testament to his close engagement with the land, and in particular, the variety of subtle changes from moment to moment. He delights in conveying the way light itself colors the land, and how those colors shift through different times of day and different times of year. As the seasons change, Lee pays close attention to the way time affects the land around him and how it illuminates rock, water, brush, clouds and adobe with different coloration and degrees of light and shade.
By design, Lee’s plein air practice requires him to paint the land as it transitions before him—the sunrise illuminating the earth in the morning, or perhaps an afternoon storm gathering strength and then dissipating. Yet beyond these momentary shifts, Lee is also concerned with the way the land exists as an accumulation of momentary shifts that take place over thousands of years: the way a river carves a valley, or even in the formation of mountains. The sense of activity and motion within these paintings suggests that his canvases are but snapshots of the ceaseless metamorphosis of the land.