Angell Gallery, Toronto
Votive is a new body of paintings and watercolours by Australian artist Adam Lee. It takes as its beginning point the theme of the votive offering - an object deposited somewhere as a religious offering, often in connection with a personal vow or a site of sacred meaning or significance. Lee reimagines these historical notions of the votive by exploring the process of painting as a form of votive practice, one intrinsically linked with a personal and, at times, almost confessional narrative embedded in the artworks.
Lee draws his imagery from a wide range of sources including historical artefacts, images from his own family history and, importantly, several religious artworks from varying time periods by artists such as Hieronymus Bosch, R.B. Kitaj and Tilman Riemenschneider. While acting as the artist’s own kind of “ode-to” these artistic giants from history, the paintings also connect Lee’s own personal history, as well as a wider universal human experience, with notions of a larger divine world at play.
Lee’s imagery is re-worked via the painting process into ambiguous and, at times, otherworldly incarnations, touching on themes of transcendence and human transfiguration. In this vein Lee treats the paintings almost like religious altars or spaces for spiritual contemplation, exploring ways in which artworks might operate as modes for connecting human experience with an unseen world of divine experience. In this way Lee investigates a re-imagining of religious or sacred artworks, shaping and forming these into new realisations for today.