Organic Sculptures by Jae Hyo Lee

August 31, 2010 § 1 Comment

Korean artist Jay Hyo Lee turns wood and stainless steel into art revealing unique beauty of organic materials

Chopped pieces of wood make a lounging chair

Korean artist Jae Hyo Lee creates unique three-dimensional decorative pieces from assembly of natural materials, such as wood pieces, branches, leaves, bolts, and nails by sculpting, grinding and refining them into geometrical shapes – mesmerizing spheres, hemispheres, or cylinders.

Attractive geometric forms are powerful in their simplicity

Wood pieces are piled together to form the voluminous body for sculpturing into various elegant shapes.

Instead of hiding the hardware out of sight, the artist emphasis countless bolts and nails by bending and grinding them. Jae Hyo Lee burns wood and alters its natural color. Using black charcoal surface as a canvas, Jae creates beautiful abstract designs with glittering metallic nails.

The high drama of velvety black burnt wood and highly polished burnished steel.

stainless steel bolts, nails & wood

“My art is about the material,” sais Lee. “Everything begins and ends with the material. I simply want to show the nature of my common raw materials like wood and nails.” His creative concern is “to discover a different way to present the common materials.” Obviously, he has succeeded in this area.

Lee summarizes his  approach: “Investigating new material is the key.”

While the artist has been creating wood masterpieces for 20 years., new remarkable pieces covered with thousands of stainless steel nails were introduced in his collection only 5 years ago . Originally, Lee  started with the iron nails, but facing inability to control their rust, he eventually settled for the harder stainless steel nails.

Countless nails and bolts are driven into wood pieces which are then burnt and grinded into dazzling objects.

Whether made of  wood or stainless steel, Lee’s art, intrigues, fascinates, and draws attention like a magnet.  Nails hammered into burned wood and bended with a tool form the hypnotic pattern of a painting-like wall decoration with surface and edges smoothed out.

Lee has a number of craftsmen helping him realize his nail art designs. In fact, his catalog has a picture of a masterpiece covered completely with Korean characters. These, he explained, are the names of all his workers. Another work has been devoted to the Roman alphabet.

Jae Hyo Lee was born in 1965 in Hapchen, Korea. He graduated from Hong-ik University with a Bachelor degree in Plastic Art. He assembles natural materials such as wood pieces, branches and leaves, or iron nails, into three-dimensional works which have elegant forms and also convey a strong contemporary mood. He has held many solo exhibitions in Korea, Japan, China, the United Kingdom and the United States. He won a number of honors, including Grand Prize of Osaka Triennial (1998), Young Artist of the Day presented by the Ministry of Culture of Korea (1998) and Prize of Excellence in the 2008 Olympic Landscape Sculpture Contest. His works are widely appreciated and adored by art collectors in Asia, Europe and America.

Jonathan Goodman commented on Lee’s work in Sculpture Magazine: “Allowing the materials to speak to him, he builds self-contained worlds that mysteriously communicate with their outer surroundings…Texture is deeply important to Lee, who emphasizes the facade of the wood, crosscut and planed to reveal the character of the grain. The surface thus reveals the character of its making, becoming indicative of the creative process and holding interest by itself. (Sculpture Magazine, “The Possibilities of Nature”, May, 2009).

Lee’s work  reminds us of the common pulse shared between a man and the Nature.

Wood (big cone pine) sculpture


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