“I don’t care whether someone thinks I’m a modernist or postmodernist artist or whatever. I am intrigued in exploring the boundaries between shadows and light, in optical illusion and how to manifest these qualities in clay.”
At first glance Lees’ vessels appear perfect, as if machine made. In fact, every work begins its life as clay on the wheel. Vessels are thrown and lathe turned to perfection by hand, a painstaking process that requires great patience and skill. During this process the signs of the hand-made almost vanish, only the careful observer will note that they are there, albeit subtle. The resulting work is calm, disciplined and displays order and a strong architectural quality. Indeed, Nicholas wrestles with the uncertainties that are intrinsic in the ceramic process, “I like to know what I will get out when I put things into the kiln.”
Lees’ work has been exhibited widely in the UK and overseas and is held in private and public collections including York City Art Gallery, Westerwald Keramikmuseum in Germany and Royal Caribbean International. He has won several awards including 3rd prize at the Premio Faenza (Italy) in 2003, the National Sculpture Award from the Bluecoat Display Centre in Liverpool in 2010 and the Desmond Preston Prize for Excellence in Drawing at the RCA in 2012. He worked as a Senior Lecturer at Bath Spa University between 2000 and 2010 and as a Visiting Lecturer since 2010. He also works as a visiting lecturer at the RCA and UCA Farnham.
Lees lives and works in Hampshire.