In drawing the world around him, New York based artist Mike Lee conveys a simple and playful essence of his subjects, whether they be people, buildings, or objects. Featured here on our blog, the artist’s intriguing drawings of miniaturized scenes have often been compared to a child’s Playmobil or Lego playsets. In these new versions of his subjects, Lee further simplifies the human form, isolating them from their toy-like environments and focusing instead on finding expression through minimalism.
Lee’s new explorations into simplification are executed in a variety of media as well, and at his blog, the artist expressed his personal goal to make 2016 “a year of exploring various mediums and surfaces”. He’s drawn his figures, still in a monochrome black and white palette, on graphite on paper, pen and ink, the occasional mural, and most recently, oil on mylar, overlaid with pen details. Pear shaped and often appearing to be floating, flowing and elongated with perfectly rounded heads, Lee’s characters immediately call to mind cycladic figurines and the works of Constantin Brancusi.
When many regarded Brancusi’s art as abstract, the artist disagreed; he insisted on the representational nature of his works, asserting that they disclosed a fundamental, often concealed, reality. Simiarly, Lee’s new works also express concepts of loneliness, despair, love, and sexuality. He says, “In my drawings, I try to balance simplicity and detail. I reduce my subjects to their most basic forms, but render them with the same amount of precision and realism as in a traditional life drawing.”