LOS ANGELES – A wood lamp, created by Hongtao Zhou from a single piece of American ash, will be on display at the Craft in America Center in Los Angeles, California from June 11 to August 20, 2016.

The exhibit “Functional Lighting as Illuminated Sculpture” will celebrate the intersection of art, engineering and lighting design. The opening reception takes place June 11.

With many lights designed to serve first and foremost as transmitters that dissolve anonymously into a space, this exhibition will instead focus on those that stand out on their own as sculptural art objects, the center said in a statement.

Hongtao Zhou is an Assistant Professor of the School of Architecture at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. As an interdisciplinary scholar and artist, he researches, practices and teaches in the areas of Architecture Design, Exhibition Design, Furniture Design & Fabrication and Contemporary Sculpture & Installation. Hongtao holds a PhD from Purdue University, a MFA from University of Wisconsin-Madison and a MS from Northeast Forest University of China, where he taught as an Assistant Professor of Art and Design for four years.

Zhou says of his work:

American Ash trees are currently under attack by invasive species emerald ash borers. Many Ash trees were killed and removed, millions of Ash logs were piled in lumberyards. There is a need to find ways to use these extra lumbers. I take the challenge to use them to create functional sculptural work, named Lumber Lamp (or Energy Wood). I made them by band sawing one piece of Ash lumber and steam bending the strips to form sculptural objects that contain space and light. These strips transform the lumber into a dynamic mechanism, a lumber that delivers lights as well as visual art. I also uses the same concept and band saw method to create large scale tree-shaped sculptures from lumber and bamboo for gallery spaces. The fiber reaches out from square-shaped lumber to express their life energy and remind us their past life story and where the lumbers are from.

The lamps and lighting that will be shown in this exhibition transform spaces through their primary functional capacity but also through the elegance and intrigue that they bring to domestic and commercial environments. This exhibition will focus on lighting types and styles that feature fine craftsmanship melded with design mastery and conceptual innovation.

Other participating artists include David D'Imperio, Mia Hall, Po Shun Leong, Julie Moringello, and Christopher Poehlmann. 

A series of lectures by leading artists in the field functional lighting design will accompany this exhibition. Dates are forthcoming.

This exhibition was co-planned with the Furniture Society of America.  

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