Legos, the colorful, interconnecting plastic pieces that have entertained and captivated children for decades, have been elevated from child’s play to fine art by Athens, Ga., native Mike Landers.
An exhibition of Landers’ work in which he creates abstract “paintings” with Legos will exhibit Feb 7-March 30, 2019 in the Albany Museum of Art’s East Gallery.
Landers is a self-trained photographer and designer who studied at the University of Georgia. His photographic work includes intimate portraits, formal architectural landscapes, large format pinhole landscapes, and a long-running documentary series of the late-night Athens party crowd.
He began exhibiting his work in 1990, then began creating art in a new medium—one that captured his imagination as a child—22 years later.
“Building with Lego bricks was a big part of my childhood,” the artist said. “Even when I was a kid, I marveled at the brilliant design of the bricks and the variety of colors and shapes.”
That affection was rekindled in 2012 when he saw a “Pick-a-Brick” wall in a Los Angeles Lego Store.
“Seeing the bold colors displayed side by side made me believe Lego bricks would make an excellent medium for abstract art,” Landers said. “From then until now, I have worked to create more complex designs, starting with my multicolor ‘sticks’ and moving toward the large-scale ‘paintings.’”
Most of his current work, he said, “evolved as a result of my love of textile weavings and geometric patterns.”
Landers says he enjoys the challenge of incorporating the limited brick sizes and colors into his designs.
“From the start, I wanted to maintain the tradition of Lego as a building tool that could be taken apart and rebuilt,” he said. “In that spirit, none of my work is held together with glue. This adds to the challenge as they must be transported, handled, and hung without falling apart.”