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Haejung Lee’s Minimalist Yet Evocative Drawings

Spontaneity, or simply being in the moment, is a key element in the practice of Haejung Lee, a Korean-born illustrator who is currently based in Toronto. Her playful portraits feel like brief, insightful glimpses of faces seen on a busy city street, on the subway, or, perhaps most of all, in a dream. Lee combines realistic renderings of facial features with fantastical and surrealistic details that often serve to reveal a subject’s psychological state or allude to a hidden narrative. Lee depicts a diverse set of emotions, ranging from the ecstatic to the deeply contemplative. At the same time, the inclusion of strings and disembodied hands that appear to manipulate many of the subjects raises questions as to the extent of their control over their own psyches.

Spontaneity, or simply being in the moment, is a key element in the practice of Haejung Lee, a Korean-born illustrator who is currently based in Toronto. Her playful portraits feel like brief, insightful glimpses of faces seen on a busy city street, on the subway, or, perhaps most of all, in a dream. Lee combines realistic renderings of facial features with fantastical and surrealistic details that often serve to reveal a subject’s psychological state or allude to a hidden narrative. Lee depicts a diverse set of emotions, ranging from the ecstatic to the deeply contemplative. At the same time, the inclusion of strings and disembodied hands that appear to manipulate many of the subjects raises questions as to the extent of their control over their own psyches.

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