Joseph Lee: Passive. Aggression to Open at GR Gallery in September, 2022




Joseph Lee. ‘Pain Marks the Spot’. Oil, pastel on canvas, 2021. Image courtesy of the gallery.

GR gallery is pleased to present ‘Passive. Aggression’, a solo exhibition of new paintings by self-taught artist Joseph Lee. ‘Passive. Aggression‘ documents Lee’s time during 2020 – 2022.

As his daily distractions dissipated under lockdown, he was forced to examine gaps, namely his liminality and inability to verbally communicate emotions, which made him unrecognizable to himself and others around him. Lee is both Korean and American, husband and son, actor and painter, passive and aggressive. Lee’s subject matters grapple with the way his liminality and thus, lack of a solid identity, began to impact the world he inhabited.


The artist’s first instinct under duress was to isolate and paint.  During these years, the process of creating the works showcased in ‘Passive. Aggression’ was a salve. To finish a painting was not the intent. These works capture moments in Lee’s life where he deflected to his studio in fear and uncertainty. At the time of inception, these paintings were the best representations of what words escaped him, to convey – in composition – what he was unable to articulate. They are a line of expression uninterrupted. ‘Passive. Aggression’ is a collection of the artist’s self-reflections, love letters, & apologies translated onto canvas.

Joseph Lee is an actor and self-taught artist, currently based in Los Angeles.

Joseph Lee. Image courtesy of the gallery.

This is the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, after former collaborations, and in general the artist’s first one in nearly three years. A total of 14 artworks in various dimension, executed with the artist’s signature technique, will be exhibited.

Joseph Lee: Passive. Aggression will be on view from September 9 to October 1, 2022 at GR Gallery, 255 Bowery (between Houston and Stanton), NYC. An Opening Reception will be held on Thursday, September 8th from 6:00 to 8:30pm (with RSVP).