Working with precisely cut 1/8″ pieces of laser-cut mahogany plywood, Oakland-based artist Gabriel Schama creates densely layered wood relief sculptures that twist, intersect, and overlap to create various mandala-like forms. Each piece begins as a vector illustration which is fed into his laser cutter (which he named Elsie), and is then glued and finished by hand. Collected here are a number of recent sculptures produced after a successful Kickstarter project, and he has several new pieces in his shop. If you liked this, also check out these laser-cut works by Eric Standley and Martin Tomsky. (via Hi-Fructose)
With little more than thin wooden dowels and a bit of glue, artist Janusz Grünspek creates scale replicas of everyday objects that from a distance appear like line drawings. Dining room tables, power tools, an Apple laptop, and even a candle chandelier are formed from delicately cut and bent wooden pieces that mimic the form of digitally-rendered wireframes. Grünspek calls the 2011 series Drawings in Space, and you can see a bit more on his website (warning: Flash). (via Junk Culture, Visual News)
Here’s a number of recent pieces by street and commercial artist Joe Iurato (previously) who leaves site-specific wooden cutouts in locations around New Jersey. The pieces are often based on photography (his own and the work of others) as well as references to characters found in famous paintings. Iurato currently has work on view at Pop International in New York and you can see more on Facebook. (via Cross Connect)
Recently unveiled at the MadArt space in Seattle, Middle Fork is the lastest sculptural work by artist John Grade who worked with countless volunteers to realize this enormous scale mold of a 140-year-old tree.
The process began a year ago when Grade and a crew of assistants scaled a Western Hemlock tree in North Bend, Washington with help of a team of arborists. At nearly 90 feet in the air they created sectional plaster molds of the living tree which were carefully lowered and transported back to the MadArt space over a period of two weeks. Over the next 12 months, hundreds of volunteers (some who walked in right off the streets) helped to create a hollow sculpture of the tree using hundreds of thousands of small wood blocks. The final piece was carefully sanded down and is now suspended in the gallery. Watch the video below to see how it all came together.
Middle Fork is the first exhibition at the new MadArt space in Seattle and will be on view through April 25th before it goes on tour to galleries and art fairs around the U.S. In two years the pieces will be transported to the base of the living tree from which the mold was taken where they will decay and disintegrate back into the ground.
If you enjoyed John Edmark’s trippy 3D-printed zoetrope sculptures last week, you might also enjoy some of his kinetic sculptures that rely on excruciatingly precise laser-cut wood and internal mechanisms to create optical illusions and other unexpected behaviors. Edmark describes these as “instruments that amplify our awareness of the sometimes tenuous relationship between facts and perception.” Here are three of my favorites, but you can see many more on his Vimeo page.
Since a young age, Paris-based artist and designer Christophe Guinet (aka. Mr. Plant) has been obsessed with trees, grass, and seeds, all materials he utilizes in his vegetation-specific practice. One of his most recent projects from earlier this year saw the creation of shoes using flowers and other plant material, which he has since followed up with Natural Skateboarding, a 32″ skateboard built from a panel of tree bark. While it would be fun to imagine a line of bark-based skateboards, “Plant Deck” is a one-off piece meant primarily for display. You can see more of Guinet’s work here. (via Fubiz)
As the story goes, Ernest “Mooney” Warther was a boy growing up in Ohio when he encountered a man who taught him how to carve a pair of working pliers from a single piece of wood—using just 10 cuts. Whether it was that single epiphany, or the machinations of his incredibly inquisitive mind, Warther would quickly become one of this most notable wood carvers in America.
Warther’s most significant carving before he changed his focus almost exclusively to locomotives, was a tree created from 511 interconnected pliers using the same technique he learned as a child. The piece required some 31,000 cuts and each branch can fully articulate like a functional pair of pliers all the way down to the base of the trunk. Watch the video above to see Warther’s son David demonstrating the technique (seriously, it’s almost miraculous at the end, well worth a quick watch).
If you want to see more of Warther’s work, there’s an entire museum in Ohio where you can also view is wife Frieda’s meticulously organized collection of 100,000 buttons. (via Atlas Obscura)
Update: An earlier version of this post stated the person in the video above is Ernest, when in fact it’s his son, David. (thnx, Natalia!)