LEGO® is out of the toy box and into the art gallery. New York-based contemporary artist and celebrated sculptor Nathan Sawaya is debuting a brand new collection of artwork entitled IN PIECES, a multimedia collaboration with award-winning Australian photographer Dean West.
Sawaya is best-known for his preeminent and iconic work out of LEGO, while Australian photographer West specializes in hyper realism imagery. The two artists spent years traveling and working together to blend their crafts resulting in the IN PIECES collection of visually stunning two-dimensional images that are exhibited with corresponding and complimentary three-dimensional LEGO sculptures.
“I’m excited to debut a new form of LEGO art and to continue to take this childhood toy into a new frontier of sophisticated contemporary art,” said Sawaya. “LEGO is no longer just for building cars and trucks, it’s a legitimate art medium and I’m proud to have been on the forefront of what is evolving into a bit of an art revolution for the toy.”
IN PIECES features a series of large-scale tableau compositions based on ideas about nature, culture, society and more specifically, identity.
“Identity as a cultural creation has been heavily commercialized and manipulated,” said West. “We wanted to prominently portray this by mashing up our artistic styles and mediums into a highly stylized representation of contemporary life. The integration of Nathan’s unique sculptures adds an innovative and compelling element to the narrative and aesthetic of the collection.”
West and Sawaya collaborated on every element of these pieces of artwork. The duo traveled to various locales in California, Toronto, New York, Utah and Nevada to photograph the scenes for these stories. Sawaya built the featured sculptures piece by piece, trying to capture the illusion that the LEGO sculptures are native to the setting.
IN PIECES, presented by Avant Gallery, will launch in New York City on Thursday, February 28th at the Openhouse Gallery (201 Mulberry Street) in SoHo. The exhibition will be open daily to the public from February 28th – March 17th (10:00 AM – 6:00 PM). For more information on IN PIECES please log onto: www.InPiecesCollection.com. Appointments are available.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Nathan Sawaya had a promising career as a practicing attorney when he walked away and to become an artist nearly 10 years ago. Now he no longer negotiates contracts in a boardroom, but instead creates awe-inspiring art exclusively with LEGO bricks. Nathan’s artwork is seen around the world in exhibitions, entitled THE ART OF THE BRICK, and in galleries in New York, Paris, Miami and Hawaii. See more of his work at www.brickartist.com.
Dean West is an acclaimed and award-winning photographer who specializes in highly conceptual and thought-provoking contemporary portraiture. His body of work has been featured in top photography magazines and art galleries around the world. Born in Australia and currently living in Toronto, Dean has also been named “one of the world’s best emerging photographers” by After Capture Magazine and included in Saatchi & Saatchi’s collection of the world’s top 100 emerging photographers. See more of his work at www.deanwest.com.
ABOUT THE “IN PIECES” COLLECTION
The IN PIECES images have been constructed by combining West’s modern photography techniques and Sawaya’s unique sculptures made out of LEGO. Key to the series narrative and aesthetic, Sawaya’s sculptures are much like the construction of a digital photograph. Thousands of bricks are glued together to form recognizable objects much like the assembly of pixels in a digital image. The similarities in technology not only help shape the aesthetic of IN PIECES, but they are key to deconstructing each tableau composition.
Using mostly frontal style imagery of the North American landscape, the simple unvarnished vernacular locations, reference the American Picture Postcard. Pastel blues, greens and yellows wash across the photographs as if, they themselves, had also been hand colored lithograph. The imagery from a distance, appears entirely photographic, however as the viewer begins to digest the imagery, each work reveals the brick by brick fabricated construction.
ABOUT AVANT GALLERY
Founded in 2007 by Dmitry Prut, the Avant Gallery in Miami, Florida is a 5,000 square foot space featuring a collection of local and international designers and artists such as Marcel Wanders, Arik Levy, Phillippe Starck, Nathan Sawaya, Alejandro Vigilante, Alec Monopoly and Guy Le Baube, among others. The gallery attracts a high profile clientele that runs the gamut from movie stars to professional athletes, to musicians, famed interior designers and artchitects, to some of the world’s leading art collectors. With Prut’s early interest in the arts, and his fearless approach in business, his success as an entrepreneur in the art world comes as no surprise. In the January 2012 “Best of the City” issue of Miami Magazine, Avant Gallery topped the list by coming in first overall.
Avant Gallery represents, promotes and showcases artists and talent from the disciplines of contemporary art, design and passionate manufacturing – ranging from the world-renowned presently in the peak of their career, to the newest, emerging, and brilliant as-of-yet unknowns who are making their mark on the world’s colorful collage. For more information please visit: www.avantgallery.com.