Monday, June 08, 2009

Spoke in Wood Exhibit

Brief interruption to the Nepal and China posts. Yesterday was the opening of the Spoke in Wood Exhibit at the Mansfield Art Center. Eight of my pieces are included in the exhibit along with the work of Dorothy Gill Barnes, Norbert and Victoria Koehn, Craig Vandall Stevens, Stephan Goetschius, James Mellick, William Schmidt, John Pearson, and Daniel Grantham.

This is one of my pieces, "When I let go of what I am, I can become what I might be." - Lao Tzu, No. 4, made from redwood burl. It's 4.5 inches in diameter.

This is called, "Parturition," made from red resin tree burl; 3.25 X 4 inches.

You can see seven of my eight pieces by clicking on this link.

Photos from the opening reception can be viewed on this link.

More information on the exhibit as well as inquiries on purchases can be done through the Mansfield Art Center director via this link.

I thought it would be worth putting the curator's statement from Tim Gorka here for you to read. Tim is a very talented artist who works in multiple media, but spends his days carving carousel figures. (I have a future blog post on my visit to the carousel factory in Mansfield - I'm so far behind, it's scary!) When he contacted me last summer to ask if I would participate, I was intrigued and interested. When he asked me for eight pieces I just about panicked, knowing how slow my production rate is given my other activities. However, I really wanted to be part of this exhibit and I think you'll understand why from his exhibit statement:

A conversation with the aspiring wood artist will often begin with the question "Why wood?" By examining our reasons for selecting wood as a medium of expression, we are forced to more carefully consider its attributes, as well as its limitations Hopefully we will not just recognize the obvious physical advantages of the material. It is also warm and beautiful, abundant and economic. The amazing variety of color, strength, and texture make each species uniquely adaptable both physically and aesthetically. Nor should our appreciation be based solely on the ease by which wood is converted to our desired ends using the simplest of tools in both reductive and constructive processes. It is my hope that through this exhibition we will consider the cultural and romantic relationship that we have with the material, and the metaphorical comfort that it provides. To paraphrase anthropologist Harvey Green from his amazing book Wood: "Even as the wood is shaped and transformed, it in turn can serve to transform our own human activities, our forms of communication and our spaces into areas of greater meaning than the components of their construction."

It is the actions of the Artist that imbue the object and hence the material with meaning, but in some ways the relationship is reciprocal; even as the wood is being shaped, its origin as a tree is revealed. It is perhaps the kinship we feel with trees that gives the material the power of its own voice in the meaning of the created object. Trees are somewhat anthropomorphic. They are upright, with limbs; they move and breath. They too are subject to the cycles and seasons as times of growth, times of activity and abundant reward, and times of rest. Trees define the wilderness. The are the wild, a place we have both fled from and attempted to subdue, and at the same time continue to revere. Wood remains the touch-point to our origins in the wild. Just as the sandalwood perfumes the axe which fells it, so too the voice of the wood does not go unheard in the song of the Artist who selects it as medium of expression. I hope that you will enjoy exploring the amazingly diverse dialog in which these ten Artists engage us. Each one is masterfulluy articulate in their medium of expression. Each work of art is a conversation, spoke in wood. - Tim Gorka

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