Korean sculptor Jaehyo Lee returns to nature at Madison Gallery in La Jolla

By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt

Jaehyo Lee is a soft-spoken Korean man who lives in an artists’ community about an hour outside big-city Seoul. He uses slabs of wood from trees native to his country — larch, chestnut, and big-cone pine — to create strikingly beautiful pieces that express his love of nature. At his Madison Gallery opening Oct. 27, he spoke through his agent-translator, Steven Choi, to say he likes to use common materials like nails, twigs, and resin — things people live with and never respect — and twist them into uncommon things. Strongly grounded in Oriental culture, where silence is valued, he intends his work to inspire a feeling of peaceful harmony among viewers.

“Emotionally, I really respond to his pieces,” said Madison Gallery owner Lorna York, who was introduced to Lee’s work by a Connecticut architect and quickly became his California representative. She cited a favorite quote from the artist — in translation, of course: “I certainly do not have the power to make the world beautiful. I just hope to make those things that are seen beautiful.”

Lee’s work will be on display in the gallery’s back salon through November at Madison Gallery, 1020 Prospect St., Suite 120, La Jolla.

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