The Peel Sessions

April 1 - May 1, 2021

Jim Lee

Press Release

Nicelle Beauchene Gallery is pleased to present The Peel Sessions, Jim Lee’s fifth solo exhibition with the gallery.

From 1967 to 2004, John Peel, the infamous BBC Radio 1 DJ, invited over 2,000 artists to record three or four songs in live sessions that were later broadcasted on air. These recordings were novel for their raw and organic sound, contrary to what was heard on standard studio mixed and mastered versions of the songs. Artists invited were chanced upon and risk taking, offered a mainstream platform when their output existed outside of the popular. “The Peel Sessions,” as the over 4,000 sessions became known, remain heralded for their sonic singularity and spirit.

Jim Lee, an apostle of Peel and the bands he championed, presents The Peel Sessions as a synthesis of recent work from the studio. On view is an arrangement of paintings that, much like Peel’s sessions, are rough cut and a little gritty, each a record of test-drives and experiments against modernist principles. Fluctuating between linear abstractions and plays on minimalism, Lee’s style challenges the priority traditionally placed on the pictorial surface alone, while toying with notions of painting as object and painting as experimentation. Exposing the framework that lies beneath a canvas, or cobbling materials in a patchwork of addition, Lee investigates and maintains a tenuous, yet playful, dialogue between completion and destruction throughout his practice.

Addressing the how or why he played what he played, John Peel explained in a 1971 Melody Maker interview that:

"One of the reasons we played Wild Man Fischer was because I didn’t know if it was good or bad; I didn’t even really know if I liked it or not, and if something has got me that confused then I want to play it on the radio, because it’s good to have something that messes your mind about. And I think the thing with Beefheart is that people don’t know if it’s good or bad, but it’s fashionable."

Jim Lee (b. 1970, Berrien Springs, MI) received his MFA from the University of Delaware in 1996. He has shown internationally at Galerie Vidal Cuglietta, Brussels; Motus Fort, Tokyo; FDC Satellite, Brussels and Galerie Markus Winter, Berlin. Additionally he has been included in exhibitions at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at University of Georgia, Athens, GA; the Center for the Arts Gallery, Towson, MD; Ratio 3, San Francisco; LAND, Los Angeles; Islip Art Museum, NY; Galerie Ruth Leuchter, Dusseldorf; Galerie Lelong, New York; Andrae Kaufmann Gallery, Berlin; IMOCA, Indianapolis; White Flag Projects, St. Louis; Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta; Larry Becker Contemporary Art, Philadelphia and the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, NY. Lee lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.