||Chris Tyler visited ITE for one week, July 9-15, 2000, culminating with a presentation he made at Open Community Day. He filled the traditional role of artist/educator, providing a different viewpoint to the ITE summer activities.
Chris is Manager of Crafts, Design, and Publishing Programmes for the Province of Nova Scotia and an independent curator and writer on craft matters.
Chris represents Nova Scotia on an interprovincial Board of the only wholesale craft trade show in Canada, now in its 25th year, producing an annual guide to crafts people and artists; managing an extensive granting programme for the three sectors; and managing the Nova Scotia Center for Craft and Design which includes five studios and the Mary E Black Gallery. The Mary E Black Gallery is the only gallery in Canada which exclusively addresses issues in craft and design. In 1998, he guest-curated an exhibition for the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia called The Poetry of the Vessel.
During his week at ITE, Chris lived with the artists, observed them at work, talked with them and even tried his hand at turning, a change from the medium of clay and ceramics, which is his background.
Chris drafted the following statement summarizing his view of ITE 2000.
Finding the EdgeFive Artists in Wood at the 2000 ITE
The five artists in the 2000 ITE have generally chosen to explore unusual surface effects. Accomplished at subtracting material to reveal the classic beauties of clear grain or the gothic mysteries of a burl, they have begun to explore new directions in turned surfaces by continuing to work the surfaces after the form is achieved. They seem to be testing how far you can take the surface and still let the wood speak.
All the makers have charred some piecesa denial of the traditional care and reverence with which wood surfaces are treated and a touch of the most destructive experience which wood can have, but an act of faith in the resilience of wood as a material. It is an ultimate deconstructive and transforming act which intensifies the fibres but obliterates the chroma.
Mike Scott drills with a dull bit, which blackens the aperture, and his eclecticism of form often results in surfaces which wittily juxtapose mechanically produced metal and turned, altered and patinated wood; Graeme Priddle chemically treats the surface or hammers it with a tiny peen. Rolly Munroe, one of the two New Zealanders who have brought with them a different world of imagery and references from what we usually see in the northern hemisphere, carves organic surface patterns with the precision of a jeweller. Patterns swell into forms and into a powerful, concise overall image, while George Paterson interacts most boldly with the matrix of the material, using both gouge and chain saw. He achieves the forms in a gestural and improvisational way, perhaps seeing form as heavy texture, leaving the wood itself to provide the fine detail.
Jack Larimore is poised among thema furniture maker whose observation about the nature of turning being closer to the tree than his usual occupation has resulted in a form which in itself traces the development from a tree, through lathe, to furniture but leaves the surface of the wood unfinished.
The ITEs repeated experiment of taking turners out of their usual social and aesthetic environment has again resulted in powerful work, where the personal interactions are felt rather than seen but will continue to evolve in the work of the participants for a long time to come.
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