Lee’s bizarre characters emerge to us, speaking of the unconscious visions that are somewhat in between the figurative and the abstract, the earthly and the distantly mystical.
A recognizable human form becomes an inseparable part of the complex image, while suggesting the relationship amid the familiar urban landscapes and their inhabitants. His works unlock the hidden and the extraordinary sole on which, from the first glance overlooked, the mundane city is built. Whilst interconnecting contemporary and ancient elements, Lee reveals the ritualistic and the tribal beyond the urbanized surface.
Whilst observing the prints the civilized city, as well as the civilized man, appears to be hiding the inner-self that can be traced back to the indigenous people, inducing wild and childish, yet frightening feelings..
The ornamental masks, which demonstrate a variety of happy, angry, sad and cheeky faces, an insight into the artist’s knowledge and interest in world cultures, meanwhile, the bright and rather raw colors speak of a culture that is distant to most of the western public.
A decorative and eye-catching touch belligerently gives a sensory experience, which, in contrast to the predominant and restrained tones used within the contemporary western world as well as art, awakens the primitive feelings from beyond the consciousness.
Tony Lee’s works tends to fight the prevalent ‘chromophobia’ — a synonym for an attempt to devalue color, to take away the power that raw color possesses. Bright notes underpin the variety of religious and spiritual symbols whilst forming the divine and demonic imagery. It becomes a monument for the power of the spiritual, for the power of the primitive that could be found within the archaic, as well as urbanized worlds.