allTURNatives: Form + Spirit 2013
August 2 – October 12, 2013
Celebrating the 19th year of the International Turning Exchange Residency (ITE) program, the Center is proud to host the international artists, photojournalist and scholar who worked together for 2 months at the UArts in Philadelphia and explored new directions in their work. The culmination of this year’s ITE program is the allTURNatives: Form + Spirit 2013 exhibition. This multidisciplinary exhibition will present each ITE Fellow’s experience and growth by including objects produced before and during the program. Three dimensional work is accompanied by photos and essays documenting the residency experience.
The 2013 Windgate ITE Resident Fellows
Ben Carpenter Artist Statement
The ITE has been a very good experience for me. The works of art in this show represent a part of that experience. From working in a new shop to touring collections and museums to meeting new people to exploring the great city of Philadelphia, my time here has been transformative. Most important has been the encouragement and support of my fellow residents.
The ITE has allowed me to rediscover my voice as an artist which had gone partly dormant during my production bowl turning phase of the last four years. I’m finding that voice to be more diverse than it once was and realizing the different sides of myself which I can express through different ways of working with the best material on earth, wood. So I would like to thank my fellow residents, everyone at The Center for Art in Wood and the staff at UArts for providing me with this wonderful opportunity of a lifetime.
Gaynor Dowling Artist Statement
I feel so fortunate to have been given this chance. Two months to explore new ideas and thoughts, living and working in a new city. The freedom to make without the boundaries and limitations of our usual exhibition schedule has been extraordinary and I was surprised quite how exciting this has felt.
Throughout this experimental time, visits to museums and collections have added many sparks of interest and inspiration! Despite working as an artist for over 25 years this is probably the first time since art college that I have really felt able to experiment completely without boundaries or structures….and the ideas and possibilities have come tumbling out, with plenty more brewing for the months and years to come.
It has been a joy to work like this, share space with other makers, watch their processes and methods and share their company. It has been a time of affirmation, both as a individual maker and in my long term collaboration with Malcolm. It has finally felt the right time or way to try and combine thread and color into our work. The work here is what happened.
John Kelsey Artist/Photojournalist Statement
I’m interested in wood turning not as an end in itself but as a means to furniture and sculpture. While technique and skill alone are insufficient, they are essential way-stations on the path toward expressive projects that present ideas along with form and function.
I first met Albert LeCoff in 1975 when I was a furniture student at Rochester Institute of Technology, and participated several of his early wood-turning events. Then I spent the next 35 years raising my family and pursuing my career as a book and magazine writer- editor-photographer specializing in woodworking and furniture design. Now retired, I’ve refocused my attention on the studio workshop and thanks to the 2013 ITE experience, I feel as if I’ve come full circle. Or perhaps, like point P in a four-bar gizmo, I’ve swung across rather than traveling all the way around.
Heather Lineberry Scholar Statement
It’s fascinating to see the way that a residency—new materials, place, experiences, and time—can change an artist’s work and thinking. Particularly a group residency. I participated in the one-week scholar’s residency with the International Turning Exchange, providing access to the resident artists’ research and creative processes. As I went in and out of the studio, watching their work and asking questions, handling their materials and works, they revealed their strategies and their experiments enabled by the two-month residency.
Gaynor Dowling and Malcolm Martin (England) have an unusual, deeply collaborative process. They work seamlessly together (or so it appears to outsiders), trading off on tasks, talking together over their next steps. Their collaboration is with each other and between their hands and their minds as they explored new veneers found in the University of the Arts wood studio, the potential of interior spaces, real tension, gesture through drawing and carving on the form, and sewing as construction and embellishment. In our conversations, they quoted essays from William Blake, T.S Elliott, Matisse and David Pye—further revealing their influences and thoughtfulness.
John Kelsey (United States) and I debated the value of material versus conceptual approaches, the importance of skill and technique, education and training. His opinions were informed by his long, venerable history in the field as an RIT trained furniture maker and editor/publisher of wood art publications. I also watched him test and prototype his wood gadgets, automaton like in their ability to do simple and curious tasks.
Neil Turner (Australia) and Ben Carpenter (United States), the turners in the group who were given their own (rather noisy) space, were fascinating to watch in their movements on and off the lathe. Neil’s history as a sheep farmer in Western Australia is revealed through his inventiveness and his forms inspired by the elements that governed his life—wind, fire and water. I observed him experiment with a new way to turn then cut, steam, bend and carve his vessels to capture sinuous movement in the final piece.
Ben’s touchstone is turning a bowl on the lathe; he often shares these beautiful utilitarian objects with visitors to the Farmers Market in his hometown of Moscow, Idaho. During the residency, he took this opportunity to work in carved sculptural forms, experimenting with surface treatments and angular or rounded forms, and local woods found at the city yard.
While in Philadelphia, I spend time at the Center learning of their recent changes, and met with other artists, curators, historians and arts activists. I was impressed by the level of energy and ideas, and the range of art forms and approaches as we talked over the future of contemporary craft, shifts in the field, the next collector base and community engagement. I know that this experience will have significant impact on my curatorial work in contemporary craft and art.
Many thanks to Albert LeCoff and the dedicated staff, board members and volunteers at The Center for Wood in Art.
Malcolm Martin Artist Statement
ITE has been truly a revelatory experience for me. Unimaginable possibilities have become real, and infinite further possibilities beckon. Without both the concentrated workshop hours and the inspirational visiting and meeting, none of this would have happened.
I have come to see and work with wood in a different way, knowing each piece has its own song if I can listen. I’ve heard the voices of makers present and past in a new way too, and learnt to work with new tools, both mental and mechanical. A new relationship with the woodworking tradition. So many ways also to work with my long-time partner and collaborator that we never knew before. Our heavy sculptures have suddenly become light as the breeze, thin wooden skins holding light and air.
Only the ITE program could have created the space for this to happen, I remain deeply in its debt. Oh, and this was the best time ever.
Neil Turner Artist Statement
My rural environment greatly influenced me, as I was able to observe the wind, fire and water impact the land. My intention is to incorporate these aspects into work that has a free, expressive and organic appearance while using carving and turning techniques to achieve a purity of form.
Timber a living breathing organism that captures my imagination. The opportunity to express thoughts and ideas in a tangible creation that continues to react within it’s environment. To design and create in timber posses many challenges both in structure and integrity but the pleasure I derive from my work is simple, a joy and passion to create pieces of work that I like.
Neil Turner now resides on a 10 acre wooded block at Stratham, 11 kilometers south of Bunbury, Western Australia. The years spent on his wheat and sheep farm 180 km east of Perth in Western Australia provided the opportunity to use timber normally overlooked and neglected by other woodworkers. His early years were spent juggling work and family with occasional woodturning. He has been turning and sculpting timber for over 34 years, attending workshops whenever possible to improve his technique and sharpen his focus and skills. In 2011 Neil attained a Diploma of Fine Furniture from the Australian School of Wood in Dwellingup. Neil explores techniques and designs within artistic woodturning, sculpture and furniture.