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Shaved, Scorched, Woven, Stitched: Unconventional Process in the Museum Collection


NOVEMBER 2, 2018 – JANUARY 19, 2019

The universal accessibility of wood and its versatility as a material invite a wide range of artistic approaches. Whether shaping its form reductively with saws, chisels, or lathes, or constructing larger forms by using joinery or gluing components, artists, builders, and makers have developed specialized processes and techniques to manipulate wood.

Wood also beckons to curious artists and makers, encouraging the exploration of its grains, textures, and malleability. What happens to wood when it is torched? Can it be woven or stitched like fiber? What can we do with all these wood shavings? These questions lead to the development of new methods, from which emerge innovative forms and ideas.

In fact, shavings and the neglected leavings of process provide inspiration for many artists, as seen in works by Gord Peteran, Derek Bencomo, and Daniel Forest Hoffman, who imagined a connection between the downy texture of a pile of woodshavings and the thickly curled fleece of a ram. Weaving and stitching are represented by modern takes on ancient furniture-making practices, as well as in vessels made by Ron Kent, and Malcom Martin and Gaynor Dowling. Lynne Yamaguchi, Markuu Kosonen, and Mark Lindquist conceived of their work as a canvas to profile nature’s processes, such as patterns made by insects tunneling and feeding underneath the bark of a living tree.

Morgan Hill scorched her carved talismanic objects in a process that taps into purification rites and sanctification through fire. And Vivian Chiu “stitched” together hand-cut and -painted multiples of one repeating shape to create a twisting halo that shifts with changing perspective.