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Ed Bing Lee

The Picnic series marked my first foray into the world of fiber art. The series dating from the mid 1980's, juxtaposed selected passages from two of George Seurat's monumental paintings, namely Sunday on the Grande Jatte and Bathers at Asnieres, with contemporary food images selected from advertising art. Some 10 years later, I turned again to the food images, visualizing them three dimensionally. However, the transition from earlier pieces to sculptural forms was not an immediate one, I moved gradually through several series, including framed pieces of historical miniatures, bas-relief of Orchids, the Earthcrust series and the current series, titled Meditations on the Chawan.

My initial attraction to the process of knotting was its immediacy and the fact that little specialized equipment is required, which allows for great latitude in approach as to design, concept and technique. In the Picnic series the work is akin to making a tapestry. The image is created by vertical clove hitch over a fixed "warp", guided by a cartoon. I thought the process of creating an image of multicolor knots is not unlike Seurat's pointillism. In three dimensional or sculptural work, the knotting process is most forgiving and the work can progress in many directions simultaneously. The distinction of warp and filling is interchangeable. Shaping is possible in a variety of ways: by adding or dropping ends, by using different tensions, by using different knots or by using a different material. It is in the Chawan series that I sought to revitalize my work habits by revisiting these possibilities.

In the end, I continually return to art history for visual and conceptual stimulation. For me it is the perfect jumping off point for work in a technique that knows no boundaries.

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Ed Bing Lee, Red Cupcake, Mixed fibers, 12" x 10" x 10", 2012

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