Embark on a journey through the vibrant and captivating world of James Lemon, an artist and designer known for his bold and imaginative creations.
With an innate ability to seamlessly navigate between art and design, Lemon’s work captivates with its vibrant colours, rich textures, and cutting-edge collaborations.
At the core of Lemon’s artistic practice lies clay, a versatile medium that serves as the foundation for his tactile sculptures. These sculptures, brimming with life, incorporate a myriad of objects, including bricks, precious stones, and discarded ephemera.
Through this eclectic mix, Lemon infuses his work with a blend of humour, physicality, and thought-provoking social and philosophical themes. His pieces often draw inspiration from diverse sources including religion, pop culture, global ceramic traditions, and insects as this exhibition attests:
“Sphexishness,” Lemon says, “is a term derived from observing the Sphex wasp. Weaving a web, excavating an elaborate tunnel. It is a type of behaviour describing mindless and robotic routine behaviour displayed in insects (although there are some people I could name here).
“This instinct lies at the core of my practice; an instinct to build. The production of vessels is a ceaseless pursuit spanning not only millennia but mega-annum. I toil between ancient and contemporary, crude, and complex, mindful, and mindless.”
Originally from New Zealand, Lemon has found his artistic home in the city of Melbourne since 2012. His talent has been showcased numerous times during Melbourne Design Week, where his innovative and boundary-pushing creations have left audiences in awe. In addition, Lemon has collaborated with prestigious institutions such as The National Gallery of Victoria and Heide MOMA, crafting exclusive collections for their design stores. These collections embody Lemon’s distinctive style and artistic vision, offering a glimpse into his extraordinary creative universe.
In 2022 he was commissioned to create a major installation for the opening of the new Ace Hotel Sydney. The year also marked Lemon’s first major acquisition, for the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV).
Lemon’s major commission for the NGV’s Melbourne Now 2023, Swarming, invites audiences to learn about the importance and fragility of bee life. Part playground and part photobooth, this participatory installation combines ceramics, painting, textiles, and digital media in an ultraviolet hive of activity, featuring playfully interactive soft pupae forms. Swarming is on now at the Ian Potter Centre until 20 August 2023.
Sphexishness is on at Sullivan + Strumpf Sydney until 3 June 2023.
Sullivan + Strumpf
Photography courtesy the artist and Sullivan + Strumpf