Exhibition Review: Myoung Ho Lee at Yossi Milo Gallery
Tree... by Myoung Ho Lee
By Kathryn Kearney
©Myoung Ho Lee, Courtesy of Yossi Milo Gallery
Myoung Ho Lee focuses on trees in their natural state and prompts viewers to observe details they might not have otherwise seen. This set of images was shot in Korea and Mongolia over the course of six years from 2011 to 2017. Myoung Ho Lee’s Tree… is a remarkable series of photographs with trees as the central focus, in an artistic and naturalistic state. Each “portrait” evokes a deep sense of nature and one’s physical being. Nature’s craft becomes a beautiful work of art in these photographs.
The Tree… series proved to be a rewarding challenge for Lee. He focused on solitary trees and then decided to place a white canvas backdrop behind it. This enhances the viewer’s focus regarding the specific details of the tree and helps you to appreciate its solitude. With each tree that he photographed, Lee had to “construct a temporary photography studio on site with the help of a large production crew and heavy cranes.” He would the remove the stilts and any objects involved in the setup, that drew attention away from the tree using photoshop.
Lee’s decision to include a white canvas backdrop behind the tree in the photograph was strategic. It perfectly frames the tree and forces you to isolate it from its surroundings. Using a large-format camera, Lee makes sure that the tree is in the center of the image allowing “the natural environment to fill the rest of the frame.” Whether it’s rolling hills to open fields to barren lands, Lee gives the viewer enough room to adapt to the tree’s environment as well as appreciate its being, standing alone.
On Thursday June 29th, an opening reception for Lee’s Tree… series from 6 to 8 P.M. drew a great crowd. People were really immersed in these photographs and took time to discuss the works among themselves. The Yossi Milo Gallery also featured some of the photographs from Lee’s Tree Abroad series which follows the same format of the tree in the center of the portrait with the white canvas behind it.The only difference is that the photos from that selection were not taken in either Korea or Mongolia, thus, “abroad.”
Lee’s palette, tone, attention to detail, coverage of Asian landscapes and overall concept of Tree..., makes for an exhibit that is noteworthy and contemporary. This exhibit will be at the Yossi Milo Gallery from June 29th to August 25th.