Wood Turning Center Museum Collection: May 1 - July 18, 2009, Selected by the 2009 ITE Residents
The 2009 ITE Aritsts in Residents inaugurated the first Exhibition from the Museum Collection in the new Museum Collection & Library space. We asked the artists to tell us about their experience with and impressions of the Center's museum collection during the ITE residency. Here is what they had to say:
Derek Bencomo, artist, United States -
I selected a group of "old school" works by the masters who are responsible for wood turning to have any following at all. These works demonstrate what was happening in isolated pockets of America by individual artists who had no connection to each other.
Wood artists today would not exist without having this foundation of artists. These artists also influenced the original "old school" collectors, whom together formed what is now known as the wood turning movement.
It seems shocking to me that the new artists who claim to be doing original work give no respect to these artists and I find it disturbing that the "new school" collectors are also not giving the respect that the "old school" artists deserve.
I am lucky that my career started in the middle of the movement which was being established, and that the "old school' artists gave me support, encouragement and praise for my work along with friendship.
If you look back in art history at different, mediums, all of the influential artists are still respected and praised for starting a movement. Why can't this be the same for the wood turning movement?
Jérôme Blanc, artist, Switzerland-
I did not know a lot of pieces in the museum collection before the residency and so many pieces were new to me. To finally touch and see the pieces was really great. To see what the artists before you have done is very positive, and now you must find new ideas.
I choose certain objects because I like the story, the idea and the design. And I can make relationships between the artists I know and the piece. The sphere from Mark Bishop. I like this black and white object. For a long time I was thinking about how I can make this piece. When I think of the "Impact" piece that I made in ITE, there is a relationship. I don't want to do what Mark Bishop did, but we have some of the same sensibility.
If I had to select only one object, the sphere from Mark Bishop - because the design is perfect !!!
Robert Lyon, artist, United States-
My experience with the Center's collection was one of inquiry and learning. I found it interesting to see, what amounts to the history of contemporary wood art, laid out in front of me. The ability to examine and handle many of the works was equally revealing. Works that you thought were very light in weight were not, and visa versa. But most importantly, seeing the works in person allows one to more fully understand how the artists brought their ideas and materials together into a unified statement. This can only happen by closely examining the works, and is not possible through books and electronic images. The Center's collection is a priceless collection that must be cared for, protected, and continually developed, while being made available for study and research.
My main influences were two fold: first was to try to pick work that seemed representative of the ITE experience, and second the artist, through the work, had to attempt to understand or see the world in a new or different way. The artist¹s vision had to be integrated with technique, in so far as their ideas became evident through their medium. The work I selected came out of a dialog suggested by the works themselves, what they had to say to each other, and about the progression of the ITE program in general. I think many of the works I chose don¹t try to explain themselves, but rather show us that much of the world exists in the mysteries of our minds.
The Hoyer/Smith sphere was chosen because it was the first collaborative piece completed in the ITE; Kevin Burrus for his use of paper (National Geographics) in his turning; and Eli Avisera¹s "Unfinished" vessel for its symbolism of the ITE program in general, and how the job of the ITE program will never be finished. There will always be new artists who will benefit from its influence - long live the ITE!
If I had to select only one object, I would have been out of my mind !
Leah Woods, artist, United States-
My impression of the Center's museum collection was that it was really diverse. There is so much work down there (in the lower level) and a lot of variety of shape, intention, color, texture) that I wished there was more room to spread it out and have more space around which to view the pieces.
I chose objects I emotionally responded to. I was not familiar with most of the makers, or not very familiar, and looked at form, sensibility, and material. If I had to pick one it would have been Siegfried Scheiber's large platter with two bowls (the Adam and Eve piece) and this was before I realized that it moved. After Albert showed how the artist intended for the bowls/cups to spin together, I was really struck by the grace and beauty and simplicity. That might be my favorite piece from the collection, both because I think it feels successful when not being engaged with as well as when the bowls/cups are moving and bumping up against one another.
As far as being influenced by pieces, there was no one piece that influenced me as much as the bigger process of thinking about a different way of working that influenced me. As a furniture maker, I approach design, material, function, size, interaction with a piece, etc. from a particular perspective and over the last nine years, this perspective is becoming more and more refined as my skills as a furniture maker have been improving. So looking at everything about the turned objects gave me a chance to think about those issues from another perspective and consider the possibility that my thinking might be a little too rigid sometimes, and maybe that's good, or maybe I could allow for experimentation in ways that perhaps I have been hesitant to experiment with before.