Lee Grandjean has had a distinguished career as a sculptor and a teacher. He trained at Winchester College of Art and went on to teach in a number of art schools, including East London, Coventry, Leicester, and held posts at Wimbledon and then for 20 years at the Royal College of Art, where he became Deputy Head of the Department of Sculpture in 2009. Throughout his teaching career he kept up an active studio practice in Norfolk. He has exhibited frequently, nationally and internationally. His work tackles themes about the body, nature and the interactions between different environments. Frequently he will use different media in order to create a dialogue from one work to another either in terms of its subject matter and meaning, or its form, usually both.
‘The way I process work is about letting nature in. Or rather keeping as much of me out of it as possible in order to allow the nature of the work to become apparent. By this I mean working with improvisation and accident. All structures are built·in dynamic relationship, all surfaces are left to the nature of how the material goes on. Nothing is formally ‘finished’, edges of colour cut across forms, surfaces are only partially covered. I want my working process and me to be ONE, in nature. Although I don’t make obvious reference to the natural world nor use natural materials, I feel it is successful if it has become something other, outside of me. So that I, and any viewer, come across the sculpture as something of nature, something that might have grown into its form. I think of my characters as stumbling out of future ruins, from the debris that is a humus of the built and organic material. It is in the spirit of noble survival, with the toughness of that which has undergone struggle but endured, managing to hold on to a residue of humour and love.’Lee Grandjean, 2017
Lee Grandjean has twice been part of GroundWork’s programme, once in 2016 for Out of the Wood (above), and again as part of TrashArt in 2018. His work is mainly figurative, and is highly inventive and experimental. He paints, draws, carves, assembles, constructs.
Here are examples of Lee Grandjean’s range of experimentation with materials, scale and symbolism and the lines between abstraction and figuration. ‘Perch’, 2011, was made from recycled plastic bottles, the other works from wood, cement, paint, wire. Often Lee’s works are hybrid creatures, half human half object, and veer between cartoon-esque humour and serious engagement with forms extending into space.