It’s not very often when I come across a modern artist that piques my attention, especially one that works in something other than graphite or oil paint. It’s just how I am wired, a little old fashioned in this regard. For instance I really can’t stand museums of modern art, 99.9% of the time I just don’t get it or see the talent pouring out of the work.
Today I stumbled upon the magnificent work of artist Jae-Hyo Lee. It’s a little hard to describe it, but I am really drawn to his wood & nail compositions. On first glance things look hammered into the surface, but it’s much, much more than that. To quote a gallery in regards to one of his pieces (“0121-1110=106062”):
Jae-Hyo Lee’s wood sculptures reveal both the unique organic quality of the natural material and the intervention of the artist’s hand. Carved from a solid slab of wood, hundreds of nails are hammered into the surface and then carefully bent to create patterns that evoke the ripples of water or currents of air.
After scorching the entire surface of the work to achieve a rich black patina, Lee grinds the nails, exposing the raw silver metal in order to “draw a picture on wood using nails,” according to the artist. He sees this process as a metaphor for both physical labor and the way in which such labor can create beauty.
His website (thumbnails work, but larger images are broken at the moment). Check out all of the amazing things he’s created… seeing these images (small) online does them no justice. It’s mathematical, it’s freeform, it’s constrained, it’s dark and light, etc. I just find it really magical.