The Mess of Emotion is an expressive series of hyperrealistic oil paintings by Korean artist Rim Lee that features a woman covered in thick, acrylic paints. The artist’s work is a combination of performance, photography, and painting. Lee herself plays with pigments as the model for her photos, which she then uses as references for her paintings. The three-step approach results in unbelievably realistic renditions of a woman lost in her own emotions.
Lee says, “The main theme of my work is [the] emotional aspect of human mental relationship[s].” She says, “Even though we live in different environments, at a certain point in time we feel the same when we look at an object.” The artist’s choice to play exclusively with black and white paint in the performance portion of her work reflects this binary aspect of relationships between people–differences and similarities–while simultaneously offering a two-dimensional image for viewers to gaze upon and empathize with her emotions at the time of her performance.