Arthur Kwon Lee is a Korean American visual artist born in the politically polarized landscape of Washington, DC. Arthur Kwon is best known for capturing archetypal imagery through a combination of historical figures and cultural mythologies across the globe - his paintings can be described as a marriage between psychoanalytical thinking and Fauvism. Lee has been awarded by the George Washington University, the Overseas National Institute, the Korean Artist Association and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Last year, Arthur Kwon was awarded as the DMV's Asian American artist of 2018 by President Baek of the Korean Society of Maryland for his contributions towards the community through visual means. Lee's influences go across the board from his relationship to the Jung Society of Washington, social and financial investment into the local church community and a lifelong commitment in martial arts. Arthur Kwon is obsessed with capturing the duality in human nature, his paintings often stack themes that appear contradictory at first glance but when looked upon in depth breathe an honest attempt to animate the deepest convictions of our collective unconscious.
His work was first published in the Washington Korea Times when he was only 9 years of age after entering a National Art contest to which he took the Grand Prize. Before this love of painting, Arthur Kwon was a Division One ranked athlete winning Bronze in the US Tae Kwon Do Nationals for 3 consecutive years. The intensity Arthur experienced at this time of his life continues through his artwork, the scale and the diversity of dynamic brushstrokes he produces tells the story of a man who needs to use his entire body when painting, "it's almost like competing in martial arts," Lee has stated."Painting is analogous to practicing 'kata", I engage all of my mental facilities and am constantly critiquing the depth of the composition." He continued, "I had a serious opportunity to fight internationally but there was no other way but to refocus my attention onto the canvas. I wanted to embody the archetype of the warrior in the realm of ideas so I put down the sword and picked up the brush."
Since then, Lee has dedicated his practice to combating postmodernism through a combination of unique mark making in conjunction to repressed symbolic and historical subject matter - he is regarded by many as not just an artist but a visual philosopher. With that in mind, Arthur Kwon has exhibited his paintings at the Gallery of San Carpoforo in Milan, The Bullock Gallery, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and many more. Lee's paintings are symbolically evocative whilst making oblique references to the archetypal mythos. The luminous colors, gestural expressionism and movement has made his artwork a highly sought over object of desire in the art world.
Arthur Kwon is currently working out of RONIN浪人STUDIO on the corner of 18th and Columbia Road, NW. (Adams Morgan – Washington, DC) and is the permanent resident artist at McLean Project for the Arts. (McLean, VA)