The Kentucky Art and Craft Gallery Presents
May 18 - July 7, 2001
Amid wood chips drifted like snow and the rich, persistent scent of cherry and walnut, Eddie Clements lives and works with wood: "I am trying to fuse my love of wood and design into something of beauty, usefulness, joy . . ." He runs his hands over a finished surface with a smile of approval, stroking the wood like a well-loved pet or a lock of a loverís hair. His affection is tangible, and infectious.
Trees are vital to humanityís existence on earth. They provide the landscape and the environment that make our lives bearable. Since time immemorial, humans have turned to trees for shelter, warmth and shade, and the by-products of trees evolved into crucial elements for fuel and construction. Wood became the basic element of countless everyday items, and these rudimentary tools and objects became things of beauty. Over the past fifty years, the ancient and honored craft of woodworking has been transformed into a dynamic contemporary art form by a new breed of ingenious artisans. In Kentucky Woodworkers, we are proud to feature the Commonwealth's finest furniture and instrument makers, basket weavers, wood carvers and wood turners, whose works are both traditional and innovative.
Wooden objects represent an intriguing combination of the natural and the manmade. The dialogue between an artist and the wood is a balancing act between precise control and the forms of chance, a conspiracy of hand, tool, mind and matter. The allure of these pieces resonates from the combination of the materialís inherent beauty and the artistís skill of technique, concept and form. Unlike clay, glass, metals and fiber, where the material is shifted and rearranged to the artistís desire, these works have always been there, waiting for a skilled and patient hand to share them with the rest of us. The wood you see is the wood exactly as it was created: the artists expose and maneuver it in their own unique way.
From this patient and time-consuming manipulation of humble materials comes extraordinary beauty and joy. Woodcarver Jim Sams crafts floral replicas with painstaking skill. The resulting Wild Columbine appears breathlessly realistic: skeptics must touch the fragile petals to believe they are truly carved from tupelo, hickory and basswood. Coffin makers Roy Davis and Albert Sperathís Steamboat Coffin provides an outstanding final statement for those who wish to go out with a shout, not a whisper. Jennifer Hellerís untitled black willow bark baskets are woven from bark strips she cuts from the trees herself. These organic forms seem plucked from the riverbank, ready-made and broken-in. Don Weber is a bodger, a woodworker who uses a man-powered pole lathe to create pieces like his Left Handed Welsh Writing Armchair. A native of Wales, Weber is one of a special group of artists struggling to keep this craft alive for future generations.
Through my association with the talented artists in this exhibition, I have fallen in love with wood. I love to caress it, to respect its boundless diversity of grain, color and texture. Wood is beautiful, constantly alive and moving and consistently improving with age and service. A lifetime is not long enough to exhaust the potential of wood, nor to master its tendencies. However, we are pleased and fortunate to recognize these Kentucky Woodworkers, and many more like them, who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit.
Julie Ball Hambrick
Glenn Augenstein, Don Bash, Roger Blair, Brian Boggs, Eddie Clements, Gerald Cooper, Mike Cox, David Denby, Jamie Donaldson, Joel Evans & Caitlin McClanahan, Marvin Ewing,Steve Farmer, Paul Ferrell, Jack Fifield, Linda Fifield, Scott Gilbert & Beth Hester, Stephan Goetschius, Marilyn Hamann, Woode Hannah, Charlie Harvey, Jennifer Heller, Steele Hinton, Philip C. Hultgren, Virgil Johnson, Philip LaFollette, Homer Ledford, Jonathan Lewis, George Neel, Tommy Nichols, Larry Oestreich, Joe Offerman, Rude Osolnik, Susan Pfeiffer, Chris Ramsey, Terry Ratliff, Patricia Rucker, Jim Sams, Paul Sasso, Albert Sperath & Roy Davis, Lynn Sweet, Don R. Weber, Gregory Williams, David Wright
©1998-2001 Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation, 609 West Main Street, Louisville, KY 40202