I, for the life of me, cannot figure out how a sculptor can see a piece of wood and carve out her/his exact vision of what is hidden in it or what s/he wants it to represent. Another instance of an extreme craft underlying a seemingly effortless artistic product.
I was introduced to wooden sculpture as a child, visiting various churches during travels, and what I most remember is my fascination with the millions of holes made by the woodworms. These days, now more enthusiastically exploring churches, I always wonder about how the facial expressions of the various saints and madonnas could give such testimony to grief or suffering in such static material.
However, the place I REALLY want to visit if I could get my act and my finances together, is Inhotim. It is a contemporary art garden and museum in Brazil, with a wacky history and a mind blowing collection, from all I have read. The founder was recently sentenced to prison for money laundering (rumors had swirled for ages.) In any case, they have a collection of sculptures – benches made from found wood – by artist Hugo Franca that I long to photograph. The link below has a banner that shows some of the amazing works in succession.
Wood sculpture has come a long way from a Madonna statue carved from Lindenwood. Artists from all over the world combine vision and skill to create something modern and yet somehow archaic. Just look at the kinetic work of Dedy Shofianto. Links below show the diversity, from choice of material to degree of inventiveness.
And here is an artist from Holland working with found wood:
In the meantime the Northwest woods have to suffice on this end, offering their own bounty of wood to be marveled at and photographed.