Artist: Foon Sham
Title: Aya, 2006
Material: cherry and walnut wood
Initially, this dramatic sculpture by Foon Sham (b. 1953) appears solid, like a massive tree trunk. But Aya is meticulously constructed of myriad pieces of stacked and interlocked wood. Balanced at its base, Aya soars upward fifteen feet, twisting to produce visual dynamism through its evolving contours. The tower-like form reflects Sham’s exposure to architecture of the American Southwest. He developed his concept for Aya using acrylic and pastel sketches.
Closer consideration of Aya’s surface reveals Sham’s passion for process, craftsmanship, and wood as a material. Tidy, regular edges and neat joints create a unified surface, which also discloses the artist’s touch in the marks left behind by carving implements. This type of joinery is a traditional construction method, but Sham celebrates its aesthetic merits rather than its merely functional ones.