allTURNatives: Form + Spirit 2017
August 4 – October 14, 2017
The Windgate ITE International Residency (Windgate ITE) program is a collegial experience in which the Resident Fellows explore new work through research, exploration and collaboration.
Celebrating the Center’s 22nd year sponsoring the Windgate ITE International Residency and hosted by our partners, NextFab and the University of the Arts, this program encourages research, discussions, studio work, experimentation and collaborations. The residency culminates in the allTURNatives: Form + Spirit 2017 exhibition in the Center’s Gerry Lenfest Gallery. This multi-disciplinary exhibition reflects each resident’s experience and includes work produced prior to the residency. Three-dimensional work will be accompanied by photos, video, and other documentation depicting the summer experience.
Click here for the Windgate ITE blog to meet this year’s Fellows and to see the documentation of their residency experience.
This year’s Windgate ITE Program & Exhibition is generously supported by the Cambium Giving Society members of The Center for Art in Wood, Ronald and Anita Wornick, Bresler Family Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, William Penn Foundation, and Windgate Charitable Foundation. In-kind support provided by Jeremy Cox, Boomerang, Inc., Signarama Center City, and Wineland Walnut, Inc.
THE 2017 WINDGATE ITE RESIDENT FELLOWS
Felicia Francine Dean
Samuel Lang Budin
Musings on a Medium
…for you can never be sure what is hidden inside the piece of wood you are going to hollow out.1
The atmosphere of the Center’s Windgate ITE International Residency program (ITE) was filled with frenetic energy. I was inserted into the residency at the mid-point with the artists driven to complete a body of work worthy of the annual exhibition, while absorbing all they could in terms of information and enlightenment. l was able to live vicariously for a brief moment; spending my days at NextFab, a community fabrication lab and the site of the workspace for my fellow residents. I was able to break bread and share stories—developing a rapport in the hopes of learning the intimacies of making in wood.
One part curator, one part artist, I am also a collector of tools, of processes, of knowledge, including new ways of putting things together. The end goal has always been to create something meaningful and enriching… whether an object I want to wear proudly, curl up on, or live with on a daily basis. I qualify this object as one of extraordinary craftsmanship. One that demonstrates the richness of experimentation while pushing the boundaries of tradition and form.
I believe I would do a disservice in organizing a conversation around objects for viewing consumption without fully understanding the particulars of a medium—its qualities, characteristics, impediments and material affordances. My goal is to develop a critical framework of cultural production (the expressions of cultures and ideologies through objects, mainly artistic in purpose) that coincides with intuition and emotion aided by artistic practice. I want an intimate understanding of what jeweler and author Bruce Metcalf describes as “…an aspect of craft that is secret knowledge, revealed only to those who take the time and trouble to either learn firsthand, or be taught by someone else who knows.”2 It was through this secret initiation that I learned the vernacular of wood.
Wood is revered for its inherent characteristics and unpredictability; its elaborate grains, inclusions and spalted edges. The cutting, scraping, drilling, routing, sanding, polishing, carving, and inlaying leads to its transformation. A more inclusive approach (lamination, bending, turning, sculpting and digital fabrication) is reﬂected in the ITE program.
Each artist had their own unique goals for the residency which I gathered from conversations and observations during my stay. I believe the output of work I witnessed in progress matches the freedom of the residency. Max Brosi was looking for an exchange of ideas. He hoped for the opportunity to observe individual approaches and develop a more intrinsic way of working. Honesty in the form of process is what has driven his multi-axis turned and sandblasted vessels. Moving away from prescriptive angular furniture towards hollow-bodied wooden surfboards, he has found his place among green wood turned forms.
1 David Pye: Woodworker and Turner, Crafts Council and Craft Study Center: Bath, 1986 2 Metcalf, B. “Notes on the Physical” in Curators’ Focus: Turning in Context. Center For Art in Wood: Philadelphia, 1997, 21.
Felicia Francine Dean aims for a re-imagining of manufacturing paired with art and design. Whether seating or wearable art, the objects are filled with volume while referencing fashion and Alexander McQueen as her muse. The fondness for experimentation, material and process is evident in her work. She merges contemporary digital processes with traditional shapes and finishes by hand. The structures speak to the systems of production through exaggeration of form and surface. The viewer cannot help but become completely engaged with the work.
Jason Schneider uses a cardboard matrix as a starting point for his vessels. Initially he was to focus on furniture and lighting, but due to the history of the Center’s collection it made logical sense to turn his gaze to the lathe. Texture and pattern are the main attractions for the recycled material; as is the manipulation of the two-dimensional into the three- dimensional. His forms are created using both an additive and subtractive approach. The corrugated cardboard, when cut on the bias reveals intricate patterns and a graphic-like quality. Using a low status material removes all preciousness from the object and his anxiety about making mistakes.
Anastasia Leto wanted the opportunity to explore ideas and forms—resulting in an elegant hybrid related to furniture and sculpture. Each piece made during the residency varies in height and wood, emphasizing the idea of distinctions among a collective experience. The purpose of the work is to encourage a relationship with the self, user and viewer. Individuality and varying circumstances are illustrated through the exaggerated heights of the sculptures.
Megan McGlynn is interested in creating a fantastical version of something typically viewed as mundane. Drawing and building things are a way of problem solving. The “Tenant Series” looks at apartment living and the interior spaces we create. A color identity is formed from our design sensibilities and the objects we choose to live with. Windows represent a visual memory for the artist, and reﬂect both the natural and the artificial world. The architectural sculptures are created with laser cutting and paper manipulated by hand. Her work represents a recollection, or a memory, rather than an exact replication of a time or place.
Daniel Fishkin comes from a performance and music composition background. Instrument building, specifically the daxophone, is a way for him to connect to music after suffering a hearing loss. Experimentation with circuit design and sound installation allows for “hearing without playing.” The instrument as a tool and/or sculpture is a universal debate. Wood species with unique tonal qualities spark a dialogue with the form and character of each instrument. The residency enabled him to fully invest in the materials, techniques and culture of lathe turning and woodworking.
I rediscovered the importance of community and collaboration. I continue to look to my fellow artists for the “why” of what we are here for—knowing that I can always rely on the creativity and perseverance of my community and in turn, provide continued support for our field.
Elizabeth Kozlowski Windgate ITE Resident Fellow Scholar in Residence, 2017
All photos by Samuel Lang Budin, Windgate ITE Resident Fellow Photojournalist, 2017
Megan McGlynn, Artist
My work explores the architecture of human patterns and perception. Through a layering of geometric networks, my art portrays the fragmentation of visual information within the mind and the patterns created when many people live in close proximity. Given my background in architectural design and drafting, my main goal for this residency was to create a close dialogue between sculpture and drawing using complex armatures, color and light. Working at NextFab has allowed me to experiment with different types of technology, including laser cutting, CNC milling, and electronics. I am grateful for the opportunity to broaden my knowledge in such a supportive and innovative environment.
As an artist with a rather solitary studio practice, it was a bit of a shock at first to be thrown in with a group of strangers for two months. Luckily, the most surprising thing turned out to be how well we got along. I am so glad to have been able to work alongside my fellow residents, and I hope to be able to discuss the diverse avenues of our artwork long into the future.
Jason Schneider, Artist
West Milford, NJ
I create objects with subtle features that engage the viewer to make them want to interact with and investigate further. My driving force has been to explore the beauty and character of corrugated cardboard in functional and sculptural forms.
What motivates me is the study of a low-status, often overlooked material used to create finely crafted furniture and sculpture. Using corrugated cardboard is an exciting challenge that results in an elegant surface and form.
During this residency, my motivation was to further explore corrugated patterning in segmented and turned forms. Each project inspired and informed the next. I often find that most of my inspiration came from my cut off waste materials.
Anastasia Leto, Student Artist
So much of my work concerns relationship, interaction, and individuality. How the combination of materials allows for a conversation between them, or how the attitude affects their communication with each other – and yet, each can still stand alone.
I have often questioned why people look up. I have asked, I have pondered, but most of all I have attempted to allow people to connect with themselves. My discovery from being a part of this experience though, is not so much an answer to why, but a realization that the journey of discovering the reason means so much more than the actual answer.
Over these past two months, I have found that this residency holds many parallels to these thought processes. My interactions with each of my fellow artists have shown me something new, have helped me to grow. All of us are built up from something entirely unique, and still we have arrived at this point – together.
Samuel Lang Budin, Photojournalist
I am an itinerant social documentarian working primarily in the depressive realist mode. My multimedia slide lectures ordinarily address such formidable topics as aging, death, and dementia, the history of the labor movement in the United States, and anthropogenic climate change. For this reason, it has been a particular joy to have spent these last two months documenting the artistry of the 2017 Windgate ITE Resident cohort, the beauty of their work, and the amicability of their fellowship and of the extended wood art community.
Max Brosi, Artist
Until now, my work has been based on the interplay between masculine, geometric forms and the softening effect of distortion in green wood as it seasons. I often use rusty steel elements as a contrast to the undulating texture of the sandblasted wood. These pieces have a raw and sculptural, often industrial, feel to them.
For my time of the ITE, I wanted to develop my current body of work further and push it into a more extreme direction, while concurrently developing a new body of work as a polar opposite to my sculptural pieces. The concept was to create balance in my work. This body of work is based on clean, simple forms that feel calm and grounded and are inviting to the touch. In my research, I considered how visually-impaired people would experience the pieces, relying on the sense of touch to explore form, texture, and flow. This tuned me in to creating more tactile pieces, using wood distortion and textural contrast to add interest.
One of the aspects of this residency I was looking forward to most and have really enjoyed, is the interaction with other creative people in a large cosmopolitan city, a total contrast to my introverted, creative solitude in the west of Ireland.
Felicia Francine Dean, Artist
My creative process is integrative, using wood, textiles, craft, and digital fabrication. The crafted objects embrace the transformation of materials and methods of making through the exploration of material properties and process driven investigations.
The sculptural aspects of my past furniture designs have led me to a deeper investigation of sculpture and form. The works and processes explored during the residency are rooted in my research investigation of the possibility of generating three-dimensional forms and surfaces for upholstered furnishings. This approach positions upholstery beyond a two-dimensional manufacturing procedure and explores its potential as a design element and artistic process. My wood surface reliefs are material translations of fashion design sewing and patterning techniques previously explored for upholstered surfaces.
In addition, I’ve furthered my exploration of transferring Millinery (hat-making) fabric molding techniques and materials into a process for sculpture/object fabrication. The identified result is that from a sculptural wood form a fiber sculpture/object is generated. Therefore, two inter-related objects are created, one sculptural wood form from which a sculptural fiber form emerges. The two objects are related through form and process, but differ in their material outputs.
I would like to thank all who have played pivotal roles in my career as an artist, designer, and thinker. They include Genia Howard, Clint Harris, Odili Donald Odita, Tommy Lambeth, Jonathon Anderson, Billy Lee, Ben Sechrest, Frances Dean and Alphonso Dean.
Daniel Fishkin, Artist
I am the kind of composer that is more likely to reach for a soldering iron than a pencil. Some of my instruments are utilitarian, and can express many different musical ideas. Others are more like sculptures that do one wild thing only. There is a unifying principle behind the forms in my instrumentarium: for me, the act of thinking about and building instruments itself is a form of musical composition.
When I first began building instruments, I made everything out of trash. I built countless instruments culled from exotic scrap wood found in dumpsters, too small to be used by carpenters. I didn’t care about things like sandpaper or varnish, because I wanted to play music as soon as the object started to sing.
Things changed with my hearing damage. Developing tinnitus was the last straw in a shift towards tactile sound construction; I can’t experience music for extended durations anymore, because sound itself wears me out. I found myself playing less—and building instruments in (relative) silence and thinking about their sound, to keep the music alive in my mind and hands while my ears were hurting.
For many years, wood seemed to me to be more of a perversion than a proper medium—I was already deeply involved with music and conceptual art. The Windgate ITE residency gave me an unprecedented chance to engage with wood and the history of wood art. In some ways, I found this liberating. Aspects of style, and references to artists working in wood are unavoidable, and found their way into my process. In other ways, wood art continues to perplex me.
Elizabeth Kozlowski, Scholar
New Orleans, LA
What does it mean to be an expert in your field? A master of your craft? The ITE residency not only allowed for the exploration of a world class collection and archive but also the discovery of the “how?” “what?” and “why?” of the creative process. I arrived at the residency with the single goal of remaining porous and open to all during my one week stay in Philadelphia.
The ITE residency provided me with the opportunity to learn the language surrounding wood. I was able to glimpse behind the curtain and observe the group as they expanded beyond familiar ways of making and thinking. We were enveloped by an abundance of machinery and technology including 3D printers, laser and water jet cutters, and traditional lathes. I watched as ash, hickory, copper, plywood, paper, iron and cardboard were manipulated by hand or tool.
Max demonstrated how natural elements can haphazardly alter green turned vessels. Anastasia expanded my view of the conceptual by allowing her individual experience to physically manifest in large-scale forms. Through Daniel, I discovered how each wood species carries a unique tonal quality. Megan conveyed the dichotomy of natural versus artificial through color, light and architectural design. Jason showed me that purity of form can exist outside of purity of material. Felicia shared her aspirations in the digital realm and the tactile. Samuel taught me how to tell a different kind of story through the camera lens.
Each individual hoped to learn from exchange with one another; in collaboration of ideas, processes and thoughts. I developed a shared language, and new ways of thinking . . . . and had a glimpse of what’s to come. I am excited for what I hope will be an enduring relationship with the materials, tools and of course, the artists.