Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Asheville Trip Part II - Grovewood Gallery

On my second stop during my recent Asheville trip, I went to the Grovewood Gallery where they were having A Wood Collector's Home show, featuring nineteen top wood artists from across North America, July 1 to October 2. Although there were a number of artists in this show whose work I saw at the Arboretum show, amazingly, there were a few phenomenal woodturners whose work were only in this show (maybe because they weren't AAW members). As a result I was a little overwhelmed and somewhat jaded by the quality of work by this point so, in looking back at the gallery's website, I can see that I skipped over and didn't photograph work that I would have otherwise covered.

Malcolm Tibbetts is one of the amazing artists I hadn't previously seen. He creates segmented woodturnings but, unlike anyone else's work I've seen, he must assemble, turn, cut, and reassemble multiple times to create these objects. It hurts my head trying to figure out how he did it. They are very confusing puzzles that must require some very elaborate clamping jigs to create. Check out his website to see more amazing work -- he even talks a little about how he made some of the pieces, but, not being a wood turner, it just confused me even more. His two pieces in this show are The Wheel on the Bus and

The Wheel on the Bus
myrtlewood and mesquite on granite base
Malcolm Tibbetts
this intestinally inspired(?) work, Perpetuity.
carob on granite base
Malcolm Tibbetts
Another segmented woodturner in the show, who I hadn't seen before, is Curt Theobald. He had several of these elegantly turned and sculpted "eggs" on display, giving a modern twist on an ancient form.
laminated and dyed birch, pernambuco, gold leaf, silverleaf
Curt Theobald
And there is Ray Feltz, a third segmented woodturner, who creates these breathtaking life-size eggs with thousands of matchstick-sized segments. His website includes images of his process here if you want to get an idea of how he does it.
Large Ribbon Egg
3816 pieces of blood wood, yellow heart, holly, and tulip wood
Ray Feltz
Small Ribbon Egg
3960 pieces of pink ivory, blood wood, holly, walnut, and lacewood
Ray Feltz
Also in this show was this piece by Stephen Hatcher. The design reminds me of skate eggs, which seem to find their way into a lot of art that I see, to the point that I see them even when their not there. Are these shapes skate egg inspired? I don't know but I like it either way.

Celestial Spheres
maple with translucent crystal mineral inlay, metal acid dyes, lacquer
Stephen Hatcher
Binh Pho's had a delicate vase in this show. I like how the natural red color in the box alder blends with the red paint he used, making it unclear whether the color is natural or painted. On a recent trip to Cleveland I saw one of Binh's cast glass pieces that he made from a piece like this. With all the negative space in one of these vases it doesn't seem possible that it could be cast in glass but I guess what makes great artists great is not being limited by what seems possible because I was told that he spent three years developing a technique to do it.
box alder and acrylic paint
Binh Pho

Nightingales (closeup)
I also ran across a couple of more pieces by Darrell Copeland. I particularly like the addition of a second color and form into this piece relative to the piece I saw at the arboretum. It makes me think that this one is more recent.
Harvest Moon II
cherry and acrylic paint
Darrell Copeland

And another piece by Christian Burchard. The title refers to the area of north Africa west of Egypt, which is new information for me. Perhaps he was thinking that the piece reminded him of wind swept sand dunes but this series always makes me think of flesh. They always feels very personal and very human while at the same time letting the wood be what it is in its most raw form. I find them very mystical in how they draw a visceral connection between people and trees.
Towards the Maghreb
bleached madrone burl
Christian Burchard
And finally, there where two great fish sculptures by Daniel Essig. This first one, a Gar, was in the show but the truly amazing one
mahogany, maple, mica, milk paint, handmade flax paper, tin, 19th Century books, fossils, shells, bones, insect wings, Coptic and Ethiopian binding
was upstairs in their furniture gallery. I love this learned and wise sturgeon, decorated with miniature hand made books (and you can lift them out of their mortises(?) to open them), sculpted old book page fins, and tons of other historical object it carries along. This species seems to play well with the themes of Daniel's work in that it is so ancient looking, seemingly unchanged for the 200 million years of their existence, much like his use of book-binding techniques that were developed at the beginning of the practice.
carved and painted mahogany, handmade books, mixed media
And note the skate eggs floating below. Though I liked his piece I saw in the Renwick last year, this one seems to me to be more museum worthy. Hopefully, the right collector will make a generous contribution and, hopefully, the museum will find a way to let visitors open the books.

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