There’s a most unusual exhibit now on display at the Lyndon House Arts Center, “The Willow Oak Tree Exhibit.” A gigantic, beautifully shaped, century-old oak tree stood outside the Lyndon House until 2016 when it had to be removed for safety reasons. In 2018, local woodworker and studio furniture maker Abraham Tesser was asked to curate a show using left-over logs to honor the heritage tree. No problem, wonderful idea! Fourteen local artists agreed without hesitation.
“It never occurred to me to worry about the wood,” writes Tesser in his curator’s statement. “Surely, the logs had been safely stored, still intact, off the ground and covered.”
Nope. Much had been poached and what was left had been sitting in a field, un-covered and exposed to the elements. Weather and fungi had made most of it unusable for artistic needs.
Still the artists forged on, deciding to work around the problems, and use the added character, texture and color of what remained.
Tesser explains that one group of artists did not treat the material as wood; they ignored the structural properties. Another group used their remnant as lumber and incorporated the flaws. A third group selected only those small pieces relatively free of rot and made miniatures, or glued together sound pieces to make a larger, more usable blank.
Read Tesser’s opening show remarks with fascinating details of each artwork in the slides below.
Schedule of Events (Virtual Events – Register on the Lyndon House site)
Oct. 21, 6 p.m. – Gallery Talk with Cal Logue, Leonard Piha, Richard Sharader
Oct. 30, 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Willow Oak Tree Symposium with Peter Bull, Tad Gloeckler, and Larry Millard. Topics will include: Timber Preparation; Narrative in Sculpture, and The Creation and Consumption of Public Art.
The Lyndon House Art Center (211 Hoyt St.)
Open: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Closed on UGA Home Football Game Saturdays