In his practice, Timothy Lee investigates his struggles with anxiety, which he feels stem from his Asian American, queer, immigrant, and diasporic identities. Yet, while drawing from his personal narratives more broadly, Lee also attends to the disquieting complexities that are intrinsic to growing up as part of two cultures.
The ironic figure of the “comet boy,” visualized here as if emerging from a halo, is both an embrace of and a departure from the artist’s past. The dynamic interplay of light, shadow, and texture evince the layered nature of Lee’s inquiry. A keen attention to materials and precision, as evidenced by the incised cuts throughout much of the work’s surface, allude to the artist’s earlier scientific training. Snapshots of the artist’s childhood in South Korea emblazon the comet boy’s body. Memories, and with them the past, become part of the flesh, like tattoos.