Rhys Lee’s works invite us into another world in which narrative and atmosphere float upon unearthly airs and delve into subliminal shadows. Rich in line and gesture, his latest paintings depict ephemeral beings suspended in painterly washes. Gothic figures, haunted souls, clown faces and baboons are highlighted in vibrant colours, breaking through dark, brooding undertones. His ceramic sculptures, typically the heads or busts of animals and other enigmatic and inscrutable characters, mirror this haunted world, revealing an optimistic yet sinister place that reflects on aspects of human life.
Lee graduated from a Bachelor of Visual Arts, Queensland College of Art in 1997. Solo exhibitions include Cracked Pots, Venn Gallery, Perth, 2013; Recent Works, Jan Murphy Gallery, Brisbane, 2012; Scarecrow, Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne, 2011; New Work, Tim Olsen Gallery, Sydney, 2011; Drawings from New York and Peru, Block Projects, Melbourne, 2010; Works on Paper, Apartment #2, New York, 2008; Gaggedfix, Melbourne Art Fair, Helen Gory Galerie, Melbourne, 2006; Squad of Crack, Next Wave Festival, Melbourne, 2004; and Squad Crack Two, Volume Gallery, New York, 2004. Selected group exhibitions include Animal/Human, The University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane, 2012; 1.85 Million Art Peripheries, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney, 2011; Immemorial Manilla, Vargas Museum, University of the Philippines, Philippines, 2010; Beleura National Works on Paper Prize, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, 2010; and Unnaming of Parts, Blackstone Gallery, New York, 2009. Lee was finalist in the Archibald Prize, 2012 and the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, 2009. His work is held in the Artbank, United Bank of Switzerland, BHP Biliton, Sothebys and University of Queensland Art Museum collections, as well as various private collections in Australia, the USA and the UK.