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An uncommon opportunity to see updated, but traditional, forms


Ink paintings by Chung Shin Lee.

Sponsored by the MIT Korean Graduate

Student Association.

At the MIT Museum, 265 Mass. Ave.

Exhibit continues through May 30.


THOUGHTS OF MUSEUM exhibitions of oriental brush painting usually center on the very traditional paintings of past dynasties. An exhibit of recent paintings of this traditional art form is thus refreshing to view and shows that it has far from disappeared with modernization.

The MIT Museum is currently showing an exhibit of Korean ink paintings by contemporary artist Chung Shin Lee. Lee follows many of the traditional style's conventions but adds a definite modern touch such as newer colors and innovative brushwork. The works have certainly found a balance between the past and present. One does not often view modern oriental paintings, making this a rare chance to see that the art has been kept alive, although influenced by a changed society.

Lee interprets traditional subjects such as landscapes and flowers with hints of the present. He uses broad brush strokes and large areas of ink shading rather than the fine detailing found in earlier pieces, which may reflect a modern trend toward abstraction, a trend towards suggesting rather than revealing, and towards using bolder lines and forms.

The more frequent use of bright colors, vivid blues, reds, and aquas is also a departure from the past. Lee maintains the subtlety and delicacy of older paintings, but includes surprising accents of intense colors and the shimmer of gold.

The exhibit is sponsored by the Korean Graduate Student Association of MIT, and will continue through May 30 at the MIT Museum. Traditional Korean handicrafts are also on display.