From afar, artist Jaehyo Lee’s towering LOTUS sculpture looks almost like a whirlwind of wood that has landed in Union Square. The Korean artist is know for his transformation of natural and sustainable materials into smooth sculptures that play on geometry, and LOTUS is no different. The curious sculpture, which was meticulously carved from Korean big-cone pine, will grace the pedestrian triangle on the southeast corner of the square through October.
Presented by the Cynthia Reeves Project, NYC Parks & Recreation and the Union Square Partnership, the sculpture marks the second project presented by the gallery. Lee’s work was chosen for his signature use of materials that echo nature as an arboreal infusion for one of the busiest areas of New York City.
The minimalist sculpture is stretched over a steel armature that soars twelve feet into the sky. Affixed to the metal skeleton are pieces of Korean big-cone pine, which have been carved, shaped and burned to create a continuously smooth surface that wraps around the entire surface of the form. Lee manipulated the surfaces of the tree fragments in order to highlight the natural beauty of the wood grain, the variation of color and the texture of the bark. Lee’s method and process is evident in the surface of the beautiful piece, which emphasizes the natural beauty of its materials.
Images ©Lori Zimmer for Inhabitat