New York sculptor Nathan Sawaya has become renowned in the modern art world for his groundbreaking fusion of pop art and surrealism in pieces comprised solely of LEGO® bricks. His most recent work represents a new phase of artistic expression within this medium, as he explores themes of identity. All his new sculpture is in one way or another autobiographical, addressing the issue of self through symbolism to express his surrealistic ideology.
Sawaya explains his shift in approach: “It could be said that this new exhibition is the antithesis of my previous work. It is an introspective show. By working with an unconventional medium, I work within the trappings of a self-imposed prison.” What results are gripping images rife with human emotion. Complex human figures are configured in forms of pure expressionism; at times ironic and other times fearlessly exposing the rawest elements of the human experience.
The sharp lines and angles of the LEGO®s add to this tension, the cleanliness of the medium muddied only by the fleeting nature of perspective. While shapes are distinctive and defined up close, when viewed at a distance, the mood is softened as marked lines change to curves and the overall effect becomes blurred. This speaks to greater truths involving the myth of stability, the persistence of transition, and the ever present metamorphoses we as humans undergo in every moment. In this way, Sawaya’s work centers on the phenomenon of how people and raw emotion are intertwined in everyday life.