Wood is an essential part of life here in Wyoming. We see it in snow fences beside our highways. It catches our jackets when we go bushwhacking to find the trail… or to lose it. We use it as fuel in our fires. We carefully totter upon it while crossing streams and rivers where, we find it on the banks, sculpted by the elements. Our barns and boardwalks are made of it.
If you appreciate the colors, the textures, and the potential of wood, take a moment to visit the Burls and Bark exhibition, at the Lander Art Center through July 8. Featured are the works of Tim Hudson, Mac Price, Alana Benson, Bruce Hampton, John Henningsen, Elyse Guarino, Bill Yankee, Joel Newquist, Jared Scott, Jerry Kendall, Scott Robeson, Lesley Robeson, Steven R. Skelton, and Jess Forton.
There are more than 40 woodworks displayed. The pieces include such hallmarks of quality woodworking as dovetail joints, smooth perfection, and clever engineering. The show contains furniture, paintings, a banjo, clocks, a handmade canoe, sculpture, and more.
Highlights include “Forage” by Elyse Guarino featuring whimsical painted mountain goats perched atop rock towers, accenting the long tall shape of the wooden canvas. There is a handmade acoustic banjo entitled “Raven,” which took Jared Scott three years to build. Lesley Robeson’s artwork “Through the Woods” combines a painting of Aspen trees with real Aspen branches to create a 3-D winter landscape. As a viewer, I was affected by the placidity created by the natural colors and soft lines present throughout this show.
The exhibition was curated by Lander Art Center Education Coordinator, Sam Gale. Gale is new to installation and met the challenge of the canoe display with cleverness. (Check out the show to discover how clever.) Sam’s curatorial statement includes this quote by author George Nakashima, “Each plank can have only one ideal use. The woodworker must find this ideal use and create an object of utility to man, and if nature smiles, an object of lasting beauty.” Artist Jerry Kendall seems to have this mastered with his discovery of Artimisia Tridenta (Big Sagebrush) as the perfect walking stick.
Local craftsman Tim Hudson, who built the aforementioned canoe, shares this sentiment in his artist statement, “wood is my favorite because of the graceful way it ages and follows a natural lifecycle.” As we grow older, this sentiment becomes more meaningful. See Burls and Bark for a little inspiration, peace, and meaning in your life.
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The Lander Art Center, which is free and open to the public, is located at 224 Main St. in Lander. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Dannine Donaho is an artist in Lander. She owns and operates Snow Deep Screenprinting and Design, paints portraits, teaches youth painting, and writes a little.