Lee Malerich

What inspired this series?


I read a book called "The Victorian Internet." It turned out to be a history of telegraphy. Enthralled with the idea of coded statements created with shapes in various positions installed on a tower (which in history was placed on a hill or rise in the landscape) and would be interpreted by another some miles away using the code book, I wondered what my towers using my shapes would look like. I set out to discover that.



Tell us a bit about your creative process?


The idea of making personal statements constructing actual visual towers not only provides a basic plan for me when creating, it is an aid for the viewer's understanding when interpreting. At the beginning of this body of work, the goal of "height" is what I wanted to accomplish as I was getting ready for an exhibition in a huge space. Making towers fits the bill exactly.

Comparing one piece to another, the viewer can see the style of this mostly non-objective work using similar elements that reappear in different pieces. These shapes or elements are the words of the artist's voice.

"Style" emerges simply through the artist's choice. The artist has success with a shape or a pairing of shapes within a composition and because of that success chooses to use the shape again. It all about solving the visual problem successfully and about comfort in creating.



How do you achieve the organic composition of these pieces?


Through the acquisition of new materials. Reaction to the new materials is always the beginning for me; the excitement of introducing new challenging elements. This represents taking chances in the studio which in the long run creates growth in the image.



How has your past influenced your current work?


Every piece an artist creates is dependent upon the work of the past even if it is not observable to the viewer. This sculpture for me is 180 degrees from the work I spent thirty years creating which were two-dimensional textiles.


Work must grow and change. It can also embody other skills an artist might have through experience. In many of these pieces I have employed marks with colored pencils to enhance the surface of the piece and situate the elements more firmly in space through shading. This was a characteristic employed in my textiles. Also layering of images is used in both types of my work. 



What else inspires you?


The style of a piece or work also emerges from the total of the activities of the artist. I love flea markets and the Goodwill Outlet Store. I have three buildings overflowing with stuff from those venues. What to do now? I satisfy those urges by securing raw materials for my sculpture.



Why choose wood as the primary medium?


The choice for this medium refers to another important personal experience. I bought and moved an old farmhouse and did much of the renovating of it myself, beginning to appreciate wood. I chose to sand rather than paint much of the tongue and groove in the house. I sanded the walls that through its history were many different colors. I let each color play a part as the history of the house would dictate. I loved the patina of the "old." I work to create that surface in these sculptures; a history of a sort for each piece.



What are you currently excited about?


I am thrilled now to be able to create large works. With my former work in textiles, it was impossible, and I am thinking about size and scale a lot now. My former works were two-dimensional and needed a wall to be displayed. Current works are meant to be viewed from all sides, in the round, and are approaching eight feet tall. They really do not need a pedestal; they live in this world. If so, maybe they need to be larger than human scale to impress.