Foon Sham
Twist of Lime

Exhibition on view March 23 through April 20, 2019

This most recent body of work by internationally renowned artist Foon Sham, synthesizes the vibrant colors of Auvillar, France experienced during Sham’s residency at the Arkad Centre d'Art in the summer of 2018. Sham captures and recreates Auvillar’s varied, vivid palette of textiles, architecture, and food for a Washington, DC audience in Twist of Lime.

Inspired by the graceful curve of the Garonne river, brilliantly colored window shutters, and the citrus added to sparkling Perrier, Twist of Lime conveys Sham’s sensory experience of Auvillar as a visitor. “All those colors I saw in the neighborhood were already in my head,” Sham commented, “it was a matter of translating them onto the sculpture.”

For over 30 years, Sham has worked with wood to create intricate, layered sculptures that reflect the forms of his environment and resonate with the human spirit. He assembles small blocks of wood into puzzle-like constructions ranging from palm-sized to monumental. Incorporating French cedar, acacia, oak, walnut, poplar, sycamore, and pine, Sham demonstrates wood’s incredible versatility. He begins his intuition-driven process by first selecting the material, attuned to the sounds, colors, and feeling of his surroundings when choosing wood. Sham then saws, glues, sands, shapes, and paints. His residency in Auvillar has cemented the role of color in his work: when you say “France,” Sham sees and feels color.

Foon Sham was born in Macao, China in 1953. He received a BFA from California College of Arts and Crafts, and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a professor of Art at the University of Maryland and has been awarded many fellowships, grants and artist residencies throughout the world— including programs in France, Norway, Sweden, Chile, Scotland, Hungary, and Australia. Sham has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally and is featured in dozens of public and private collections worldwide.