Thomas Wood, Trilobite II, state II, mixed intaglio with chine colle', 5 x 4.25 in, 2017
THOMAS WOOD : : monoprints
KATHLEEN SKEELS : : ceramics
And a debut exhibit of 3 new Thomas Wood etchings published for the limited edition of The Republic of Dreams by Bruno Schulz
Kathleen Skeels, Bug Bouffant, stoneware, 13 x 7 x 7 in, 2019
i.e. is pleased to present two iconic Northwest artists together for the first time in our March exhibit. Both Bellingham artist Thomas Wood and Seattle artist Kathleen Skeels produce highly imaginative, sometimes fantastical narrative imagery. Wood is well known for his virtuosity as a printmaker, primarily copper plate etchings, and an oil painter. Skeels is a notable clay scupltor who also draws and paints on clay and paper. She also designs and constructs gardens incorporating her clay works.. I have longed to pair these two side by side in one space for quite some time. For this exhibit Wood has segued into a 2 year exploration of trilobites as subject matter and created a luminous series of monoprints from 4 plates. Skeels displays her ceramic sculpture and painted drawings on clay of "bugs, birds, and us" completed in the last 2 years.
Thomas Wood artist statement
In existence for nearly 300 million years, extinct now for 250 million years, Trilobites were once the most common and diverse animals living on the planet. Because of their past abundance, wide geographic distribution, and robust exoskeleton, these marine arthropods form a large part of Earth’s fossil record. I take them as a representation ofa phenomenon that has repeated itself half a dozen times in the history of the planet: mass extinction. In this work the trilobite serves as a momento mori, a reminder of our impermanence on a scale that transcends the individual. These images are intended to evoke a feeling of time travel into our deep biological past. Mandy Turner and I made the plates and worked every print as though it were a singular, individual painting, a sedimentary layering of inks, paper, ground stone, and pigment, evoking the rich quality of an imaginary fossil.
Kathleen Skeels artist statement
For me my art is an alternate world, a place of possibility and discovery where I am at my most capable and where the rules are of my own making. Through my art I make intangible worlds tangible. Art gives me a serious playground that holds me enthralled for as long as it takes to complete the work.
Drawing is basic to my art, drawing in black and white and color. It’s play. It’s memory. It’s a refuge. On another level, it serves as a tool for examining the world directly, and for thinking through ideas and projects.
Clay is a versatile and challenging material. I work in in clay to sculpt, and use it as a ground fordrawing and painting. Porcelain’s fine texture is perfect for small sculptures and complex drawings. Colors are at their most brilliant on top of porcelain. A heavy duty stoneware clay works well for creating my large scale sculptures. I create my figurative sculptures from imagination informed by my studies from life. Often these three dimensional pieces double as grounds for my drawings.
“The city fell into this profusion as if into a hundred-year sleep,
unconscious from the heat, deafened by the glare,
and slept cocooned a hundred times over in a spider web,
overgrown with weeds, breathless and empty.”
Thomas Wood, Pantheon of Dreams, edition of 30 mono prints, 3 color etching with aquatint, 11.5 x 7 in, 2018
The print, The Pantheon of Dreams strikes at the heart of what could be considered quietly advocating for social justice. Social justice at its core is driven by a very human desire to stop history from repeating itself. Bruno Schulz was a teacher, artist, and writer of exceptional imagination who happened to be Jewish. He was killed because of his Jewish heritage. Here he is honored for the creative and fertile mind he possessed. Discrimination and bigotry today in 2019, for all intents and purposes, is on the rise. This print reminds us of the brilliance and loss of a dreamer named Bruno, and what comes of racial hatred. The etching celebrates all that he possessed and lost, and speaks to what we lose by allowing bigotry to become institutionalized