Filtered, a group exhibition
Press essay by James Brinsfield, curator
Architects & Design
Kansas City, June 2002
Ke-Sook Lee's two pieces; the embroidery hoops in the lobby and the large apron
over the reception desk continue to employ her iconography of identity-seeds,
pods, organic shapes alluding to the growth process. What's changed is the presentation
and scale. Both new works use her characteristic signifiers associated with the
Specifically the apron and embroidery are thought of as women's work- items
of status as housemaker.
In one reading they could seem to be cliches- sexist
emblems. The way that Lee uses them they are a double-edged sword working against
stereotypes while acknowledging their usefulness in the everyday running and
of a household.
The ambiguous meanings are strengthened with Lee's fanatical
attention to detail. Each of the dozen or so embroidery
hoops is a piece of
intense beauty. Arranged along the wall the hoops transform again into an abstract
that aligns its decorative presentation with the ornamental character
of the needlework.
The big apron piece is a more complicated affair. The ephemeral fabric is
of back and forth references to minimalist painting and sexuality (including
bondage and submission). Its size puts it
on an even footing with the scale
of painting. The frilly scalloping along the bottom is a light-hearted touch
- a nice reminder
that serious work can have a sense of humor about itself
and the issues it addresses.