Fugazi – Evan Lee

Evan Lee is a Vancouver based artist, who I have not yet come across. His Fugazi exhibition was held at the Monte Clark Gallery as part of the annual Capture Photography Festival here in Vancouver. I went to along to the Monte Clark Gallery expecting to see an exhibition by Roy Arden as advertised in the festival catalogue, but no such luck.

There were only five photographs on display, all of them of a cubic zirconia. The prints were 5 ft x 5 ft – so very large, and made from digital scans of the cubic zirconia. According to the catalogue “fugazi is a slang term used in mafia films for counterfeit diamonds” (Capture Photography Festival, 2016). The images all show a high level of detail and have been enlarged 15,000 percent and this renders the image as a total abstract.

Fugazi No. 2 by Evan Lee archival pigment print on rage paper, 60 x 60 inches
Fugazi No. 2 by Evan Lee
archival pigment print on rage paper, 60 x 60 inches

I was reminded of a kaleidoscope toy that I once had when I was a child. I only looked at the gallery write up after my visit and would not have made the connection with a cubic zirconia at all.  I was thinking more in the line of light refractions off a computer CD and some other materials layered on top of this in Photoshop. I found the colours quite garish and harsh and in retrospect, would not have thought that the colours from a fake diamond with have such clarity and depth when magnified to that degree.  The photographer has constructed a geometric patterned background to the cubic zirconia and I’m not totally convinced whether this enhances the subject or detracts from it. I think I’m leaning towards the latter. I have to be honest and say that this kind of abstract really doesn’t speak to me at all.

Evan Lee Ichiban no. 5 instant ramen noodles, acrylic medium, paint, 11 x 9 x 6 inches
Evan Lee
Ichiban no. 5
instant ramen noodles, acrylic medium, paint, 11 x 9 x 6 inches

What I did find intriguing though was an installation series of ramen noodles that were either suspended from the ceiling or mounted on a dowel stick on/over a white cube. Lee had taken ramen instant noodles and mixed them with acrylic paint and other found objects to “consider the artificial nature of “instant” food” (Monte Clark Gallery).  The photographer in me was really more drawn to the beautiful toned shadows below the noodles than the actual sculpture itself which was a fun piece. There was also a box constructed from other found boxes, embroidered with decorative stitching that held centre stage in one of the gallery alcoves, which I found fascinating.

Embroidered box
Embroidered box

I think the reason why these strange sculptures always grab my attention in some fashion is that they are so creative. I, in a million years, would probably never think to recreate a cardboard box from other boxes and then embroider it. Perhaps I should take a lesson from this and try and come up with the wildest idea possible and just go ahead and execute it …

Reference List

Capture Photography Festival. (2016) Fugazi by Evan Lee. Vancouver: Monte Clark Gallery.

Lee, Evan (n.d) Fugazi [online]. Monte Clark Gallery. Available at: http://www.monteclarkgallery.com/current.php [Accessed 2 April, 2016]


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