Op art in the form of hyper realistic painting is something artist Lee Jung Woong has brilliantly mastered. Born in Korea in 1963, Woong has made a name for himself internationally with his series of insanely realistic “Brush” paintings. Woong uses Chinese ink, oil paint and Korean paper. His paintings of brushes covered in ink are so hyper realistic people actually bring magnifying glasses to his shows in order to figure out if they are photographs or paintings. That is probably one of the most interesting components of his work.
The technique and media he uses continuously works to confuse and manipulate the viewers perception of what one is actually seeing. His extremely realistic you may say “hyper realistic” work makes the viewers question if they are looking at a photograph or a painting, creating an illusion of reality.
The use of Korean paper takes on an important role as well. It has a unique texture and is the only part of the painting that is not a manipulated reality, but functions as the reality itself. The paper works not just as a surface for Woong’s realistic paintings but as an actual object and realistic space. It works to create a sense of visual tension, for one uses the reality of the paper as a reference point in order to contrast the reality of the painting that’s on it. He keeps you in a state of continuously moving back and forth between reality and false images. Not only does Woong present beautiful realistic paintings, he includes a component of mental value which adds the perfect amount of context to keep your mind running around in circles.