Pic by Tim Marvin - SPHEXISHNESS - Sullivan + Strumpf 2023
James Lemon, born in 1993 in Te Awamutu, Aotearoa (New Zealand), has been based in Naarm (Melbourne), Australia, since 2012. He's a multidisciplinary artist with a focus on clay. Lemon explores the historical and ecological aspects of clay, looking into its role in the development of civilisations and its connection with other life forms.
With a career spanning several years, Lemon creates tactile and dynamic sculptures that blend art and design. His works carry humour, and physicality and delve into social and philosophical themes. Lemon's art features a mix of religious elements, pop culture, and an interest in insects, resulting in colourful and textured sculptures. While clay is his primary medium, Lemon often adds unconventional elements like bricks, stones, and discarded items to enrich his artistic language.
Beyond traditional studio work, Lemon engages with digital spaces, using them as inspiration for his art. His ongoing project, "SPHEXISNESS," addresses ecological concerns, specifically insect population decline and climate collapse. Through intuitive making, Lemon's sculptures act as memorials for disappearing life forms, offering a commentary on the interconnectedness of human and natural worlds.
'My works are made routinely, mindlessly, rapturously, but with absolute intention, like the spinning of a web. They are death objects. They include urns, tombs, and grave markers. These objects are a physical lamentation of this future loss and a memorial for these fading life forms.'
Lemon has collaborated with various institutions, including exclusive commissions for The National Gallery of Victoria, The Powerhouse Museum, and Heide MOMA's design stores. His work was featured in the 2023 Melbourne Now exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria and covered in publications like Architectural Digest, Artichoke, Vogue Living, Vault, Art Collector, and Elle Decor France.
Actively involved in the arts community, Lemon shares his knowledge through workshops and masterclasses in his private studio. He is part of the permanent collection of The National Gallery of Victoria and has showcased solo exhibitions in respected galleries, including Sullivan and Strumpf in 2023, Oigall Projects in 2021, and James Makin in 2020.
Lemon and 'Swarming' for MELBOURNE NOW 2023 | Picture Courtesy of The National Gallery of Victoria