Lot 1077
  • 1077

Jane Lee

450,000 - 680,000 HKD
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  • Jane Lee
  • Fetish Beige
  • Signed on the reverse
  • Acrylic paint and heavy gel on canvas
  • 180 by 180 cm; 70 3/4 by 70 3/4 in
  • Executed in 2011


This work is in good overall condition as viewed. Unframed, on a stretcher.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

 It can be said that contemporary art in Southeast Asia is largely governed by men; therefore having a woman artist stand out is a very special thing to highlight for they are ultimately redefining artistic expectations as per gender paradigms. Singaporean artist Jane Lee has forged a role for herself as an individual who is not only redefining her place as a female artist, but is also subsequently restructuring how the audience interacts with the physical artwork itself. Her oeuvre is highly respected for its innovative take on challenging existing norms of how paintings should look like, rather than exploring the potential of what a painting could truly become. Her body of works established her in the contemporary art scene as an exciting new voice, while introducing new ways of interacting with the painting medium.

The work Fetish Beige perfectly exemplifies her creative ideology of having the two-dimensional canvas flirt with sculptural elements, thereby creating a brand new piece of art that balances between two-dimensional and three-dimensional forms. As per the artist’s signature technique the work is not a traditional abstract painting that presents itself as an object to encourage a visceral discussion with the audience. Instead Fetish Beige plays with the concept of being a sculpture that is fixed onto a canvas, therefore deviating away from abstract expressionism and addressing the actual physical properties of the work. Such as how the painting occupies space, its decorative purpose if any, as well as if the work can be seen as the love child of painting and sculpture should they merge together.           

Jane Lee’s past works all revolve around the key questions about what is the purpose of a painting, and the audience’s relationship with the piece. Traditional painting invites the individual to look upon it as an object that inspires an emotional attachment. The artist’s works, however, are made up of thick layers of paint that dominate the canvas, and tease public expectation about structure, form, and style. The question of is it a painting is not the real concern for her, instead Jane Lee strives to breakdown the act of painting itself, specifically audience participation and expectation. Other pieces from the artist’s oeuvre continue in this vein of philosophizing about creative intent and how this influences the purpose of an artwork. Fetish Beige’s arresting whirls of multicolored paint that are reminiscent of paper flowers or the intricate patterns found in marble marks a new direction for the artist in terms of aesthetic style and how she uses the medium. The artwork is part of the Fetish Series created in 2013, and each piece depicts the same application of paint to create this unique look.

As seen in the present work the artist continuously toys with the notion of space and how a painting can occupy its environment. Fetish Beige hangs on the wall like a traditional painting, but it is the collection of tight whirls of paint that elevate it from its two-dimensional status. Jane Lee’s earlier works have also learned to adapt to their environments. Her use of space as another sort of medium instills a certain sense of depth that draws in viewers in to take a closer at the artist’s technique. With the present piece the paint layers are so thick to invite the audience to touch them, this act itself already pushing the boundaries of how a public interacts with a work of art.

As a woman artist Jane Lee stands out amongst her peers, for together with her experimental approach to painting, she has also built a new platform for other female artists to showcase their abilities and introduce new means of how the painting genre can be redefined and made anew. It can be said that as an artist Jane Lee’s approach to painting is wholly unique and a refreshing way to personally interact with the art form. Fetish Beige’s title references the color of the painting, as well as the artist’s take on the act of painting itself. A fetish is an obsession with an object that provides emotional and mental security for that person. The series title is perhaps an allusion to the act of painting and the artist’s intense need to create art for the betterment of her wellbeing. Past works in her career have more literal titles such as Without Canvas and The Object, names that identify the meaning behind the artworks. The work Fetish Beige reveals the artist looking inwards to analyze her own purpose as a painter, as well as the emotions and experiences that inspires her to make art.