LINDSEY Lee’s new exhibit, “Cliché Untitled,” at Artery Art Space in Cubao, Quezon City, continues his critique of commodification in the art world as well as, as the title suggests, his crusade against stereotypes and hackneyed expressions in art.

Lee, who has established himself as a young abstract painter though lately veering into conceptual art and sculptural and taxidermal installations, makes use of blunt imagery in thought-provoking works so as to deliver his scathing condemnation of commoditization of creativity.

“Just Paint and Paint Nothing” and “Where Should I Hang This?” are both installations of molds of hands coming out from walls. The molds of hands seem as if they are painting on canvases suspended from the ceiling. The viewer actually gets to see first the empty back of the canvas and he has to circle the installation in order to appreciate Lee’s abstract aesthetic and his installation’s representation of the messy and unpredictable creative process.

Some of the works evoke sarcasm and satire through either a metaphorical nudge or direct statements against the pretentiousness of artists and viewers alike.

“Spectator” consists of four framed oil-on-paper paintings, bearing the words, “I don’t understand,” “What is your message?,” “This painting is too deep” and “Color matches the couch.” Lee said he was trying to portray shallow sentiments of most art audiences.

“Inside the Box, Outside the Box” consists of two boxes with oil on canvas designs on its sides and taxidermied ducklings, one duckling on the inside of one box, and the other on top of the box.

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Lee has been known to practice the art of taxidermy, the art of stuffing and preserving deceased animals. He uses taxidermied animals to complement his mixed media works.

Meanwhile, “Pain Thing” makes use of a polyresin-on-canvas, intravenous-fluid bottles, acrylic paint, and water installation with variable dimensions. The installation consists of numerous IV bottles labeled “Collector,” “Spectator,” “Financer” and “Mentor.” The bottles are connected to a painting on the wall with different colors. The installation depicts the terrible pressure artists get from art buyers and financers but who also serve as lifelines to artists.

Arvin Flores of Artery said Lee’s art was a critique of the classic idea of art as beauty.

“People are still trying to be like Michelangelo, Da Vinci so why go that route once more?” Flores said. “Lee’s work asks the questions: Why not critique that practice?, What can be painting today?”

Lee was a Painting major at the UST College of Fine Arts and Design and a student of the Art Students League of New York. His work has been exhibited locally and in Singapore and Japan. “Cliché Untitled” is on view until Feb. 27.

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