Ke-Sook Lee
Filtered, a group exhibition
Press essay by James Brinsfield, curator
Shaw Hofstra 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 domestic.

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 décor 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 composition 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 a maze 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.