This summer the Art Complex Museum presents an exhibit of eleven sculptors who make art using wood. The work selected is a broad overview of both the medium of wood and contemporary approaches to art making. This exhibition brings an unmistakable attention to art of the moment without overlooking the curators’ respect for the craft of an object.
“Making art with wood is not an arbitrary decision. For the artists in this show, wood is their muse and the source of their inspiration. Each artist has an affection for wood that comes from a very personal place. In fine art, the mastery of materials and craft must serve the aesthetics of the work. We selected contemporary art for this exhibition that speaks through wood as its medium. We placed several different approaches to using wood in juxtaposition, bringing individual voices into focus. We see wood, as a medium, in the true sense of the word — ‘an intervening substance or agency for transmitting or producing an effect.’ Each artist in the show approaches wood from a conceptual framework that yields surprising and divergent results.” Guest Curators: Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein.
Featuring: Amy Archambault, Thomas Beale, Donna Dodson, Breon Dunigan, Vanessa German, Pat Keck, Jennifer Maestre, Jason Middlebrook, Andy Moerlein, Martin Ulman and Mike Wright.
Wood as Muse presents eleven very different sculptors whose connection is wood. With three to eight pieces from each artist this is a deep introduction to the concept and the participants. This selection of artists is diverse in their approaches, yet they are delightfully connected by the artistry and craft of working with this iconic medium. Several of the artists are regionally based and familiar, all of the artists have national and many have international reputations.
Amy Archambault’s work addresses wood as a consumer product, using store lumber in playful contraptions. Furniture parts and upholstery become trophy heads with a designers attitude in Breon Dunigan’s work. Working with pencils as medium Jennifer Maestre confounds our perceptions of this commonplace object. As she says, she uses “what is normally a tool to create art into the art itself.” Vanessa German, Mike Wright and Martin Ulman all use discovered wood product that they repurpose. In their art the original use or story the object contains is rebirthed into a new plot.
For the lover of woodcarving and rich grain, this show does not disappoint. Jason Middlebrook, trained as a painter, uses exquisite slab wood as his canvas, layering patterns and colors in conversation with the vivid wood grain. Donna Dodson, Thomas Beale and Andy Moerlein similarly reveal wood’s natural colors yet each of these artists engage art making from a very different personal vocabulary. Dodson’s political feminism is not obscured by her lush wood choices, Beale’s swelling forms belie the many fragmentary parts of their creation, and Moerlein’s surface treatments confound the viewer with suggestions of stone and landscape.
Many of these artists flirt with story telling, but Pat Keck finds inspiration in carousel and cigar store figures, puppets and dummies. Her wood carved figures are vital. They will surprise and start a conversation with you. This show has much to offer. It should not be missed.
Amy Archambault, http://www.amyarchambault.com/
Thomas Beale, http://www.tbeale.com/
Donna Dodson, www.donnadodsonartist.blogspot.com
Breon Dunigan, http://www.artstrand.com/artists/breon-dunigan
Vanessa German, http://pavelzoubok.com/artist/vanessa-german/
Pat Keck, http://www.patkeck.com/
Jennifer Maestre, http://www.jennifermaestre.com/
Jason Middlebrook, http://jasonmiddlebrook.com/
Andy Moerlein, www.andymoerlein.blogspot.com
Martin Ulman, http://www.roslindalestudio.com/
Mike Wright, http://sculptormikewright.com/
Exhibition Blog: www.woodasmuse.blogspot.com