Native Mumbling (2010 - 2014)
In her series, Native Mumbling, Hyunmee Lee explores the pictorial and conceptual power of language by combining both actual Korean letters and gestural fragments of letters. With a gentle nod to semiotics, Lee intertwines the principles of transparency and opacity, not unlike her diaphanous layering of pigment and form. Even though she deliberately incorporates letters from the Korean alphabet, Hangul, the words she creates have no specific meaning, much like English letters that form the subtitles for the various gallery showings of this series (“Da Da Ga Ga,” “Ma Ba Sa,” and “Ga Na Da Ra”). Devoid of specific definitions, the characters become scribbles or mumblings. Through this freeing of message, Lee’s gestures reflect a state of meditative process: the symbolic and repetitive action of forming letters, of erasing and re-writing. In the interplay of abstract forms and calligraphic shapes, Native Mumbling embraces past and present, tradition and innovation, fragmentation and the search for wholeness.