Max Lamb and Jay Sae Jung Oh Reconfigure the Meaning of Materials in Design at Salon 94

max lamb and jay sae jung design at salon 94
Installation View, Max Lamb, Inventory, 2024/Portrait of the artist, Jay Sae Jung Oh, 2024. Photos by Sean Davidson.

Within my first week in New York City, I was invited to a private gallery preview and artist talk at Salon 94 Design for the opening of Max Lamb and Jay Sae Jung Oh. I walked up the Museum Mile where, right across the street from the Guggenheim, is Salon 94 and has been since 2021. I was greeted with warmth and vibrancy, as the dual show of curated design work provided a memorable introduction to my new journey.

Showing 282 pieces, Max Lamb’s “Inventory” show complements the 5 one-of-a-kind sculptures shown in Jay Sae Jung Oh's "Salvage 2.0 | Domestic Landscape". The design-focused collections came to fruition through a balance of decisive creative process-making and naturally letting the function come to the form. A mindset that strongly resonates with me.

Max Lamb's Inventory

For Lamb’s pieces, this encompasses all of his works in North America, some works have never been in the same room together. The exhibition displays Lamb’s work as dictated by the different materials he experimented with, including metal, copper, stone, wood, ceramics, and textiles. There were rooms filled with designed and hand-built chairs of every color and shape. He continued to explain this exhibition had become a great exercise to reassess his works and further articulated that this cataloguing turned into a necessary step for him to be able to move forward as an artist.

Jay Sae Jung Oh Process

As for the South Korean, now Seattle-based artist, Jay Sae Jung Oh, her industrial design background has led her to this point of her first solo gallery show. In her practice, she uses old objects to develop new objects to solve problems, a stark difference from the notion of industrial design where you solely make new objects. This collection showcases all the collected objects she's gathered to make functional objects out of them, as she uses duct tape to bandage the various items together to make couches, chairs, and lamps. They are finished with leather rope in a topographic-like pattern. Jay states the visual texture of the leather rope gives the objects a luxurious feel, creating a contrast from the old objects, which are still identifiable. The collage of random objects creates one-of-a-kind artwork as a result of the nature of Jay’s process of not knowing exactly what each object she finds is going to eventually become. Although, recently, she has purchased a 3D printer to experiment with scanning existing pieces to see if replication is possible and to streamline her tedious practice.

The multiple floors at Salon 94 Design are filled with Lamb’s and Jay’s work and will be on view from February 29 to April 20. The marriage of designing things to bring contrasting materials, processes, and shapes together has shown me how it can strike everyone’s curiosity, from the artist to the viewer.

All images: Photos by Sean Davidson, Courtesy of Salon 94, Design. 2024.