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Daily Art Moment: Steven Young Lee

Steven Young Lee describes how the coils of the large vessel of Jar with Dragon and Clouds came apart and the pot imploded in the kiln. Here the shards are put together in such a way to reveal both their exterior and interior surfaces. One can imagine how impeccable this vessel must have been before it came apart—even curvatures and delicate inlays are all visible, inspired by Korean Joseon dynasty vessels. What is also visible is the sand that stuck to the shards on the floor of the kiln, the breakages in the coil, and moments where Lee allowed the glaze to run and hang on the edges like stalactites. Whereas Lee often creates immaculately controlled vessels that he then purposefully makes vulnerable so that they give way in the kiln, Jar with Dragon and Clouds violently collapsed into complete deconstruction. The end result was an entirely new work of gestures, making visible the artist’s process, and as Lee states, “creating dissonance through harmony.”

Grace Kook-Anderson, The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art

Steven Young Lee (American, born 1975), Jar with Dragon and Clouds, 2016, porcelain, white slip, glaze, epoxy, steel. Museum Purchase: Funds provided by the Northwest Art Fund, 2019.58.1