liam lee mimics organic growth with handcrafted merino wool chairs

liam lee mimics organic growth with handcrafted merino wool chairs

catch and release: liam lee exhibition opens in new york

 

In a newly opened exhibition titled Catch and Release, Patrick Parrish Gallery showcases the undulating felt chairs of designer Liam Lee. The artist recently showed his work as part of last month’s LOEWE Foundation Craft Prize 2023 at the Noguchi Museum, and was shortlisted for his vibrant chair meticulously handcrafted from merino wool. With a profound fascination for the ephemeral nature of creation and the enigmatic poetry hidden beneath the ocean’s surface, Lee now presents his debut solo exhibition at the New York gallery.

 

In my work, I try to create work that feels — upon first encounter — as if it sprung up from the ground overnight or has grown into its current state without human intervention,’ says Lee.

liam lee chairsexhibition view | images © Clemens Kois

 

 

the everyday chair transformed with biophilic form

 

Upon the opening of Catch and Release, Patrick Parrish Gallery described Liam Lee’s work as ‘phantasmagorical,’ with its undulating chairs sculpted by hand from felted merino wool. The 29 year-old artist and designer shapes his visions through creative instinct, technical improvisation, and a deep appreciation for the evocative power of ‘sense-memory.’

 

As a self-taught creative, Lee pushes the boundaries of his craft with labor-intensive techniques employed in unexpected ways. This way, the material and its formal conventions are challenged and upended. Speaking through his own visual language, Lee’s pieces present a vivid splash of color, texture, materiality, and scale, encouraging a reconsideration of our relationship with the everyday objects that occupy our homes.

liam lee chairs
exhibition view | six merino wool chairs are showcased as the centerpiece of the exhibition

 

 

ceramic, paper, and wire works debuted

 

Alongside his felted chairs and tapestries, Liam Lee’s expanding repertoire is debuted with the Catch and Release exhibition. Visitors will be introduced to his collection of glazed ceramics, works on paper, and mesmerizing crocheted wire light sculptures. Lee’s intent is not to transport us to a specific location, but rather to evoke a profound sense of wonder, much like the awe he experienced as a child exploring tide pools, where each shell and rock carried its own mystical narrative.

 

Despite growing up as a city kid with an apparent lack of greenery around me, the natural world continues to occupy a sort of magical space through its physical separateness from what I generally experience on a daily basis,’ says the artist.This notion of an untouched ‘natural’ world, or distinction between the natural and the man made is of course a human construct, and it’s exactly this romanticized or imaginary version of the natural that I’m drawn to.’

liam lee chairsexhibition view | the artist replicates organic, growing forms

 

 

learning from the ocean realm

 

Tethered to the power and mystery of the ocean and its inhabitants, every piece in the collection is carefully designed and handcrafted by Liam Lee himself. Fluid forms gracefully navigate across mohair and merino wool surfaces, ceramic coral clings delicately to the edges of mirrors, and freshwater pearls adorn the copper wire ‘skin’ of sculptures that seemingly embody the essence of mystical lampreys. Each work serves as a testament to Lee’s profound connection with the depths of the ocean, inviting viewers to embark on their own imaginative journey through this captivating realm.

liam lee chairsexhibition view | chairs are displayed alongside wool tapestries

 

 

The title of the show speaks both to the aquatic source of inspiration for this body of work, as well as to the process of creating the work itself, which involves at times casting a net and pulling up a form or an idea and then releasing it back into the world,’ the artist continues.

 

It also nods to the figure of Proteus, who constantly changes shape, but when caught, holds his true form and provides the answer to his captor’s question. I suppose it’s also a way of not holding onto the things you create — a way of catching the thing in your hand for a brief time as it takes shape and then letting it go.’

liam-lee-catch-release-felt-chairs-exhibition-designboom-05a

Liam Lee, ‘Chair 16,’ detail

 

the diverse works displayed at patrick parrish gallery

 

Catch and Release comprises an impressive array of art and design pieces. Among them are three tapestries, each bearing the unmistakable mark of Lee’s creative vision. Additionally, the collection features three gouache and pencil works on paper, expressing intricate details and captivating compositions. Visitors will encounter two mirrors, which blend functionality with artistic expression.

 

The exhibition also showcases two light sculptures, delicately woven from crocheted wire, casting ethereal shadows on the surrounding space. Furthermore, eleven ceramic objects each tell its own narrative through form and texture. Central to the collection are six chairs and one stool, all crafted from felted wool.

liam lee chairs
Liam Lee, ‘Chair 14,’ detail liam lee chairsLiam Lee, ‘Chair 12,’ detail

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Liam Lee, ‘Stool 02,’ detail

 

1/12
Liam Lee, 'Chair 11'
Liam Lee, 'Chair 11'
Liam Lee, 'Chair 13'
Liam Lee, 'Chair 13'
Liam Lee, 'Chair 12'
Liam Lee, 'Chair 12'
Liam Lee, 'Chair 14'
Liam Lee, 'Chair 14'
Liam Lee, 'Chair 15'
Liam Lee, 'Chair 15'
Liam Lee, 'Chair 16'
Liam Lee, 'Chair 16'
Liam Lee, 'Stool 02'
Liam Lee, 'Stool 02'
Liam Lee, 'Lure 01' (lighting fixture)
Liam Lee, 'Lure 01' (lighting fixture)
Liam Lee, 'Medusa Lamp' (lighting fixture)
Liam Lee, 'Medusa Lamp' (lighting fixture)
Liam Lee, 'Medusa Lamp,' detail
Liam Lee, 'Medusa Lamp,' detail
exhibition view
exhibition view
exhibition view
exhibition view

project info:

 

exhibition title: Catch and Release

designer: Liam Lee @studio_liamlee

gallery: Patrick Parrish Gallery@patrick_parrish_gallery

location: 50 Lispenard Street, New York, NY

on view: June 22nd — August 4th, 2023

photography: © Clemens Kois @ucantalwaysgetwhatuwant

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