Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Meaning of Wood: Olympia

April 7- May 2
Opening Reception April 10,  6-7 PM

Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts
2011 Mottman Road SW
Olympia, WA

The Meaning of Wood Curator Statement
There are probably as many paintings, photographs and sculptures of trees as there are trees. But many trees meet fates not so frequently portrayed: harvested and shipped to other markets, conserved for biological benefit and recreation, subjected to forest fires or windstorms and so lost to the use of humans and other species, milled and turned into functional products, and so forth.
The Meaning of Wood provokes thinking beyond individual tree portraits into the process and significance of trees becoming wood. It is a paradox of our language that “woods” means a living forest and “wood” means the material of products and commerce. Our language is permeated by tree metaphors – a problem has its “roots,” software programs have “branches,” railroads have “trunk” lines, we ourselves are “stiff as boards” or we “slept like logs.”
This is not an inconsequential topic: global forests are carbon sinks, rich nations pay poor ones to retain forests for carbon sequestration, and counties in Washington still depend on timber sales to fund education and public safety. 

This invitational exhibit includes artists from all across western Washington and northern Oregon. It offers diverse media: painting, photography, printmaking, assemblages, quilting, sculpture, even a game.  It ranges from the days of the spotted owl protests to contemporary times and presents an array of social viewpoints.
Curating the exhibit has reminded me how much we treasure both “wood” and “woods.” As a society we attempt to derive both commercial and spiritual value from forests simultaneously. We can debate and disagree about what the highest and best uses of the resource are: experiences of nature? Biodiversity bank? Houses? Furniture? Objects of beauty and contemplation? Valuable export category? Or pallets and toilet paper tubes?
Our human nature responds to the rich sensory qualities of wood. Even dead, wood reminds us of life. We will never want to be without it around us.      -Suze Woolf

'Encircle'    Barbara De Pirro