Feature Articles

February 2011

Center for Craft, Creativity & Design in Hendersonville, NC, Offers Exhibit Focused on Bentwood

UNC Asheville’s Center for Craft, Creativity & Design in Hendersonville, NC, will present, Torqued & Twisted: Bentwood Today, a new exhibition which explores the work of nine furniture makers and sculptors from the United States who use the technique of bending wood in innovative, unusual and eloquent ways. The exhibition will be on view from Feb. 10 through June 29, 2012. A reception will be held on Feb. 10, from 5-7pm.

Co-curators Tom Loeser, an artist and professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Katie Lee, Center for Craft, Creativity & Design assistant director and curator, look at how this specific technique of bending wood is used by these artists/designers who both borrow from and build upon various historical traditions.

Bentwood came to symbolize the modern movement in furniture design, but it still offers tempting territory for a range of aesthetic and formal explorations. The artists/designers in this exhibition push the limits of wood bending to create extraordinary functional and sculptural works of art that are conceptually challenging and expand our understanding and expectations of wood as a material.

“As a curator, I am always interested in how to make exhibitions accessible and of interest to the public,” states Katie Lee. “I feel that exhibitions such as this, which focus on a particular technique, allow anyone to both learn about a material as well as gain an appreciation for the range of ways that artists use a particular technique like bending wood to create their work. I profess to not being a ‘woody’ – a person who knows the ins and outs of wood - grain, wood type, processes, - that’s why I contacted Tom Loeser. Tom is nationally recognized for his ‘functional and dysfunctional’ art and has mentored some of the best wood artists working today.”

This exhibition provides the context for how the technique of bending wood has been used historically as well as how contemporary sculptors and furniture makers utilize this technique today. A few examples are: Matthias Pliessnig draws from the rib and plank boatbuilding approach; Clifton Monteith offers stellar examples of willow or “twig” bending; and Mike Jarvi “unfolds” his furniture from within the plank, in a brilliant, almost oragami-like motion, for which it is hard to find a precedent. Ultimately, each of these artists has refined and developed their own repertoire of techniques, which in turn results in a highly personal visual aesthetic.

Tom Loeser will give a keynote talk, “Not the Straight and Narrow: Diverse Pathways to Bending Wood,” at 7pm on Thursday, Mar. 15, 2012, in UNC Asheville’s Owen Hall Room 302 in Asheville, NC. His talk is co-sponsored with the UNC Asheville Meet the Maker lecture series. Loeser and Lee will also give a Gallery Talk from 1 to 2pm on Friday, Mar. 16, 2012. The events are free and open to the public.

This exhibition received support from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources; administered by the Arts Council of Henderson County.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Center at 828/890-2050 or visit (www.craftcreativitydesign.org).


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