Waterman: Coloring the Stranger explores the adaptation of a stranger in a new place. Jiyoun Lee-Lodge began this series as a journal-like notation when she moved from New York to Utah, and struggled to settle in. The persona of Waterman acts as a stand-in for both personal and universal experience while referencing pop culture, and themes of alienation and belonging. Lee-Lodge began this multi-year series by asking: “If I mimic what an ideal life looks like in a new place, will I blend in well?”
She illustrates herself as shifting water that repels, absorbs, reflects – a figure struggling to find a place within its environment. The soft aspen backgrounds reflect her notions of “a better life” in Utah, traced in a delicate thin line as though it might dissolve into the scene when the viewer loses focus.
Inspired by Edward Hopper’s works, Lee-Lodge continued to explore displacement, anxiety, and isolation throughout the pandemic. She was confined to her house, experiencing absolute solitude and loneliness in a space meant to provide comfort. She mediated her access to the outside world through a screen – a digital window – that acted as both a means of connection and a source of alienation. A window that opens to excess: ideas, information, the deluge of emojis, and the exhausting cacophony of what Bo Burham calls “anything and everything all of the time.”
Lee-Lodge navigates alienation caused by the pursuit of an ideal life. In the film “Pleasantville” the story begins in black-and-white, reflecting a perfect, ideal, and emotionless world. As the primary character opens themselves to feeling, the world turns to color little by little. Lee-Lodge draws a parallel between her process of “coloring” the Waterman to an acceptance and transcendence of her hope for active and open communication among people, just like the film.
Curated by Amy Jorgensen at Granary Arts
Works Available through Modern West.