EAST LANSING, MI.-
Wood is one of the most widely available natural materials in the world. It has been used extensively by almost every culture in artistic production for over 5,000 years. This spring the Kresge Art Museum
at Michigan State University presents Wood into Art examining the ways in which artists have employed this versatile material from medieval to contemporary times. The show will be on display in Kresge Art Museums Perspectives Gallery, March 12 through April 21, 2010.
Presented in collaboration with MSUs Department of Forestry, Wood into Art focuses on the relationship between artist and medium in terms of process and materiality, while inviting parallels between geographically diverse regions. Included are seminal prints by artists Paul Gauguin and Albrecht Dürer paired alongside anonymous carvings from African, Asian and Inuit cultures; all highlight the widespread use of this often overlooked material.
The impetus for the exhibition was an enlightening visit with two Forestry professors, says director Susan J. Bandes. As we toured the museum they noticed different things than I, as an art historian, did such as where the wood used for a 15th century painting came from and how various wood grains result in certain preordained characteristics, as seen in several woodcuts. We also were interested in looking at the collection from an environmental perspective and wood as art provided a unique way to explore the holdings. The show is not about landscapes and picturing the environment but rather the way wood has been used as a material in art.