Daniel Lee was born in Chung-Qing City, Sichuan Province in 1945. Lee spent his teenage years in Taiwan and completed his college art education in the Department of Fine Arts at the Chinese Culture College in 1968. Daniel Lee originally majored in painting while studying . Lee had a chance to participate in the production of a film and began to cultivate his interest toward photography and movie in the summer of his junior year. In 1970, after he received his master degree in Philadelphia College of Art, Lee went to New York City to start his career and participated in the business of photography industry. From the late 1980s on, Daniel Lee began to focus on the research of photographs to better his artistic performance. In 1992, with the accessibility of digital equipment and software, Lee advanced his creativity from the traditional photography with film to the digital reproduction of image. His adaption to the new technology had furthered his freedom in creativity and expanded dimension of his artistic performance. Afterwards, the animalistic portrait had become the unique artistic term for Daniel Lee. His artwork was exhibited in various major international exhibitions.
Daniel Lee’s “portrait” artwork is a combination of excellent photography skills and the subtle and complicated digital photography reproduction. Oftentimes, Lee would first observe the composition of his subject’s appearance, and after researching the features of his subject’s face and figure, Lee would transform and remodel these features with computer graphic software as if he would dig into the primitive beastliness of one’s mind and endow it with a visualized image. Though sometimes Lee’s animalistic portraits appeared to be exaggerated and strange, they were visually convincible to remind viewers to associate the image with the appearance of his objects. Daniel Lee’s Night Life imitates the composition of the Last Supper in order to illustrate the indulgence of the contemporary lifestyle. The thirteen animalistic men and women—whether they are flirting, putting on makeup, looking awry, staring and provoking each other with their eyes—weave the oddity and complexity of the modern time human interaction and relation. Meanwhile, those animalistic faces have become a metaphor for general humanity. It tells the subtle association and blurry boundary between human beings and beasts and reveals the nature of the cruel competition and preying instinct hidden under the civilization.
From 1972 on, Lee competed for his career in the radical New York advertising business as an Asian immigrant. It took two decades for Lee to come across from the realm of commercial photographic business to photojournalism and eventually to the photography arts. Lee’s career developed throughout time and his long term hardworking experiences. Daniel Lee once mentioned that purchasing his first Macintosh computer in 1992 was the most important decision he ever made. He described his decision as “endowing wings to a tiger.”1 The computer graphic technology had given the photography a pair of wings and made everything possible. Certainly, brand new mediums and utterly different art languages were approachable to the artistic creativity with the digital technology. Through the assistant of this pair of “wings,” Daniel Lee released his potential and knowledge in art and his photographic skill from the limitation of formats and flew into a wider sky for his artistic creativity.
1 Ya Jing-ruei, “Past, Present and Future: Daniel Lee,” The Artist, Vol.353, Oct. 2004, p.424.
|English title：||Night Life|
|Medium / Classification：||Mixed Media|
|Collection Unit：||National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts|
|Contact method for authorization：||
Guide to the Use of Image Files and Data from the Online Collection Database
|Related Exhibition：||Unique Vision Ⅱ：Highlights from the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts Collection|