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Woodturning News: General News

EXHIBITION: Peabody Essex shows stunning pieces of art created from wood

Tuesday, May 19, 2015  
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MetroWest Daily News, Framingham, MA (05/17/2015)

SALEM - Michelangelo carved the Pieta from a single slab of Carrara marble. Vincent Van Gogh painted several masterpieces on finely woven linen to accentuate their brilliant colors.

The artisans in “Audacious" transform mahogany and willow burl, Thai rosewood and everyday maple into works of art as imaginative as they are beautiful.

About 50 artists from the U.S. and around the world are showing more than 100 striking examples of contemporary wood art at the Peabody Essex Museum that reveal the wonderfully diverse possibilities of a seemingly commonplace material.

Subtitled “The Fine Art of Wood from the Montalto Bohlen Collection,” the show coincides with Bob and Lillian Montalto’s donation of 47 works to the Salem museum.

Using lathes, chainsaws and even blowtorches, these artists shape familiar and exotic kinds of wood into bowls, vases, vessels and purely decorative objects as abstract as Jackson Pollack’s drip paintings.

Dick Codding used mahogany and oxidized copper tacks to fashion an elegant vase as seamless as a Grecian urn. In “A Search for Order,” Robert Howard shaped Australian red cedar into an organic form that appears to pulse like a sea anemone.

Using bronze and maple wood colored by fungi, Ron Gerton created the figure of a spindly sapling he calls “A Tree Runs Through It’’ that seems inspired by Salvador Dali. Based in Kenai, Alaska, Robert Cutler combined local birch, fossilized walrus ivory, tagua nuts and moose antlers to construct “Aurora Borealis,’’ a palm-sized work as gorgeous as the phenomenon that shares its name.


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