Glomp: Lee Jyung-Houn

July 9, 2008

The Economist this week on a Vilhelm Hammershoi exhibit: “All his best-known paintings are of household interiors that are drained of colour and tell no stories. …the mood is melancholic and enigmatic, but the paintings are oddly compelling. Quite why, no one seems sure.” Which almost sums up how I feel about Lee Jyung-Houn’s comics.

Page from “Death” by Lee Jung-Hyoun

This South Korean artist seems to work outside tradition: pencils over inks, sideways pages, and a foreboding restraint. Her two pieces in Glomp, “Kitchen and Bathroom” and “Death,” play with the balance of light and dark in empty rooms. The panels-in-panels suggest passing time, recalling Richard McGuire; her domestic scenes are no less infused with meaning than his. But I don’t understand the meaning.

Page from “Kitchen and Bathroom” by Lee Jung-Hyoun

I’m reminded of a Guy Davenport quip: “Stan Brakhage had recited ‘The Kingfishers’ [by Charles Olson] with passion in my living room. But he had no more understanding of the poem than my cat.”

Meow. Glomp’s author bio states that Ms. Lee lives in Incheon with her cat Budgi. So maybe I’m on the right track.

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