Audacious: The Fine Art of Wood opened at PEM on February 21st. One important lesson we can learn from Bob and Lillian Montalto Bohlen’s collection is that wood art comes in a many forms, shapes, and colors. Wood art has expanded beyond the utilitarian craft of bowls or vessels or even exquisite furniture, and Audacious contains many works that are abstract forms.
The problem is, how do you describe these pieces to someone else?
Many times, while we were making the exhibition catalog, I would find myself saying things like “you know, the green one with the holes in it” (Intersphere from David Ellsworth’s Solstice Series) or “How about the spiral bowl, with the thousands of pieces?” (Hal Metlitzky’s Double Helix).
Sometimes a short description worked, but more often than not we had to go back and forth several times before we arrived at the same object.
As an experiment, I surveyed my friends and PEM coworkers. I showed them pictures of works from the exhibition and asked them to try to describe them to someone else. Their answers vary widely — and are very creative — but it remains to be seen if they described the pieces effectively.
So, here’s a challenge for you.
Can you pick out which object from Audacious matches the descriptions below?
1. “A set of propellers”
“Circular future desk art paper holder”
“Acrobats, or the hood ornament of a car”
2. “A roller coaster”
“A dragon’s tail”
“A curly cue swirly whirl”
3. “A bird wing”
“Onion or a shallot”
“Layered pages of a book”
5. “A bat”
“A duck foot, or a SCUBA flipper”
“An insect carapace”
6. “Deep sea squid”
“Red vessel with tendrils that looks
like it could get up and chase me”
“Holy votive radish”
7. “Steampunk miniature”
“Writing desk with crazy modern finials”
9. “A tree ate a cookie”
“A forgotten bird bath”
10. “A sun exploding”
“Han Solo in carbonite”
“Slats coming out from a ball”
11. “A dancer”
“Thin red lines”
“A rhythmic gymnast with a ribbon”
13. “A cherry”
“A Christmas ornament”
“A piece of candy with a long
straw coming out the top”
14. “A frog swimming”
“A flat wooden octopus”