ATHENS, GA.- The Georgia Museum of Art
at the University of Georgia is displaying a unique collection of tabletop sculptures made from trees in the exhibition Turned and Sculpted: Wood Art from the Collection of Arthur and Jane Mason, on display until August 7, 2016.
The exhibition features 30 objects, all made entirely of sculpted wood, by some of the most renowned contemporary artists in the form. Although many of the forms were inspired by functional usage, they go beyond being bowls or vases, taking inspiration from their origins. The word turned in the title of the exhibition reflects the fact that many of the artists used a lathe to sculpt the wood, rotating the material on its axis to create a symmetrical, rounded form.
It fascinates me to see craft transcend utilitarian needs, said Dale Couch, the museums curator of decorative arts, who organized the exhibition. These pieces represent a meld of technical virtuosity, aesthetic sensibility and respect for the medium of wood itself.
Couch adds that the breadth of the artists represented is part of what makes this collection special. The exhibition functions almost as an encyclopedia of great American woodturners and sculptors, including Georgias renowned Moulthrop family: father Ed, son Philip and grandson Matt (UGA BBA). Other artists featured include Garry Knox Bennett, David Ellsworth, Mark and Mel Lindquist, Todd Hoyer, Bob Stocksdale, Michael Peterson, Merryll Saylan and Marilyn Campbell. Objects range from the relatively traditional turned bowls of the Moulthrops to Robyn Horns geometric sculpture, Rod Cronkites topographic forms and Todd Hoyers works that use burning and distressing for symbolic reasons.
Collectors Arthur and Jane Mason crafted this collection for decades before donating it to the museum. The gift has taken the museums holdings from almost nonexistent in this medium to nearly comprehensive, as was the Masons intent. A fully illustrated book, published by the museum, accompanies the exhibition.