Wood Sculptures Crafted from Discarded Tree Trunks and Branches.
Working with wood and metal, Jaehyo Lee produces immaculately formed, intricate sculptures that reveal a mastery of his materials and a winking, sophisticated wit. Lee eschews traditional distinctions between the fine and applied arts and makes both functional and functionless works, presenting benches, stools, and tables alongside abstract, biomorphic forms. Burnt-black wood often serves as the sculptural ground into which Lee embeds discs of fresh wood or bent steel bolts and nails. His wood-on-wood combinations read as playful meditations on the multifaceted nature of wood itself, while the nails that often cover his wooden surfaces seem transformed into worms or spermatozoa—recalling a slithering, energetic galaxy of organisms.
“I make artworks with materials around me that I can manipulate. Usually those materials are from nature,” Lee, who lives in Yangpyeong with his artist wife Cha Jong Rye, says in a video profile about his work. When it comes to his wood sculptures, he usually forgoes expensive, rare trees in favor of scraps from cheap or abandoned specimens, explaining, “I believe you can get more of a ‘wow effect’ when you create a striking piece from everyday, common materials.”