Abstract Portrait Paintings, Joseph Lee Art | Yellowtrace
‘Pieces of Disquiet’, 2019.

Abstract Portrait Paintings, Joseph Lee Art | Yellowtrace
‘Biography’, 2019.

Abstract Portrait Paintings, Joseph Lee Art | Yellowtrace
‘Homewardbound’, 2019.

Abstract Portrait Paintings, Joseph Lee Art | Yellowtrace
‘In Between Me’, 2019.

 

LA-based self-taught artist Joseph Lee creates abstract portrait paintings that are equal parts haunting, striking, and downright cool. Lee is also an actor, and the study of human faces and the emotions that inhabit them fuels his artistry.

By manipulating everyday faces and recognizable objects through segmented brush strokes, Lee examines the dichotomy between external realities and the inner workings of one’s mind. Even though no facial details that would typically convey emotion are revealed, Lee still manages to portray intense expression through his works. A tilt of the head or angle of the jaw conveys mood and gaze.

 

See more Portrait Art on Yellowtrace.

 

Abstract Portrait Paintings by Joseph Lee | Yellowtrace
‘Pitre’, 2019.

Abstract Portrait Paintings by Joseph Lee | Yellowtrace
‘State of Gray’, 2019.

Abstract Portrait Paintings by Joseph Lee | Yellowtrace
‘Innerchild’, 2019.

 

Each portrait character is distinct, named for the feelings Lee associates with each such as ‘Innerchild’, ‘Homewardbound’ and ‘Pieces of Disquiet’. Lee’s distinct brushstrokes lay across one another as if pieces forming a chaotic puzzle, yet the final result appears converged as a complete and balanced whole.

Despite the somewhat somber connotations of his concept, Lee uses bright and bold colours for his abstract portraits. Some are reminiscent of a lipstick counter, with faces formed out of complementary shades of nude and pink, while others are more abstract and multicoloured with predominant blue and green shades. The paint is applied thickly, protruding from the original canvases, while matte monochrome backgrounds make the silhouettes stand out.

 

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