August 2017: Focus on Andy Moerlein

"I have enjoyed a very lively summer. I created a new piece for a show I curated with BSG colleague Donna Dodson, I organized a reading in my gallery in Anchorage by Alaska writer Laureate Ernestine Hayes, I went to Denmark for the Ringkobing International Wood Carving Symposium and I recently completed a month residency at the National Museum for Marine Science and Technology in Keelung, Taiwan, creating another Avian Avatar with Donna Dodson under our collaborative entity The Myth Makers.

 Installation at Art Complex Museum

Installation at Art Complex Museum

So why co-curate a major exhibition, Wood as Muse at the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury MA. with Donna Dodson?

Researching and selecting artists allowed me entry into the lives and studios of artists I admire. It made me think deeply about my affection for and lifelong connection to wood. It was an opportunity to create a community of twelve artists who mostly did not know each other.

How did an engagement with Alaska Writer Laureate Ernestine Hayes come about? I had never met her, but had been reading her books with enthusiasm. I knew she would be in Anchorage for a workshop the week I was visiting. My Alaska gallery, blue.hollomon gallery often hosts readings, and always an event when Donna Dodson and I are in town. Ernestine had a new book and was eager to read. It was a warm synergy of meeting and shared work – a perfect intersection of her fans and ours.

 Alaska Writer Laureate Ernestine Hayes with Andy Moerlein

Alaska Writer Laureate Ernestine Hayes with Andy Moerlein

What is an international wood carving symposium and why Ringkobing, Denmark? A wood symposium brings together an elite selection of the world’s best wood sculptors to carve monumental logs in a brief period of time. This is performance sculpture in rare form. The art making process is laid bare to daily observation, bark-on log to finished surfaces.

 

Ringkobing invited twelve artists to this short week-long event. The skill level was uniformly evident. These artists knew shape and understood how to create it. We had great accommodations at a local hotel, an endless stream of meals featuring the many ways this harbor town prepares and serves fish: fried, baked, smoked, poached, spicy, salted, hot, cold etc, tours to nearby sights and places of community pride, and many fun evenings with local supporters and our fellow sculptors.

 

Ringkobing is an ideal symposium location. The city is celebrated internationally for it’s fjord harbor, fish restaurants and markets and tourism. The symposium is a summer highlight that is visited by hundreds of visitors daily. A grassy acre overlooking the harbor provided the perfect background for chainsaws, tourists, sunshine, sawdust and photos with sailboats in the background. The Director Otto Pilgaard is a superhuman organizer who has earned deep respect and affection from town leaders, businesses and the world sculpture community.

 

Why not Boston?! We have the arts focus, tourist volume and necessary business value. We have a dozen great possible sites I can think of.

 Work by Andy Moerlein at the International Woodcarving Symposium, Ringkobing Denamrk

Work by Andy Moerlein at the International Woodcarving Symposium, Ringkobing Denamrk

Next stop? Taiwan! A jungle coated mountainous country with a dynamic economy and vivid culture, Taiwan is diligently seeking to focus education and attention on their precious ocean environment. My invitation there was as team Myth Makers. Working with Donna Dodson we were invited to make another of our monumental “Avian Avatars”. The theme of the residency was Making Connections. We built one of a series of globe embracing sculptures addressing ocean health and the sustainability of this vital world resource. Connecting harbor cities our first Widow’s Walk debuted in New Bedford MA and wsa followed by the Interpid Albatross in Keelung. Please see the following Youtube video to see how this project culminated."

 Widow's Walk, New Bedford Massachusetts USA

Widow's Walk, New Bedford Massachusetts USA

 Intrepid Albatross, National Museum of Marie Science and Technology, Keelung Taiwan

Intrepid Albatross, National Museum of Marie Science and Technology, Keelung Taiwan

-Andy Moerlein