Serie Robinson, Broken Pottery, Three Layers
Exhibition Dates: Feb. 6 - April 2, 2020
The O'Kane Gallery is honored
to exhibit the art and science of Dr. Seri Robinson with a solo exhibition of
nineteen artworks created of spalted wood. With a background in
woodturning, Robinson's intense curiosity in the mechanisms that create the
visual dynamic of various woods led to a Ph.D. in Forestry Science in 2010 and
to their current position as Associate Professor of Anatomy of Renewable
Materials at Oregon State University's College of Forestry. A central focus of
Robinson's research is a color or pattern created in wood (spalting) through
the action of fungi interacting with the wood.
Spalted wood has been used in artistic creations for hundreds of years. In Robinson's book Spalted Wood, co-authored with Hans Michaelson and Julia C. Robinson, the authors note the earliest inclusions of spalted wood in late European Medieval and early Renaissance works in a technique of inlaying formed pieces of wood as veneer called intarsia. Their book illustrates how truly remarkable these masters were at creating often trompe l'œil effects by shaping different colors or values of wood. What is also apparent was the need for varying colors to create more complex and more naturalistic imagery. Green or blue colored woods were a particularly tall order but were found in rare quantities though their existence must certainly have remained a mystery to these early masters. Five hundred years later, these spalted blue or green woods still maintain their hue.
Robinson has been at the epicenter of research and knowledge of a renewed interest and excitement in understanding the causes of spalted wood and its contemporary uses as an artistic medium. At Oregon State University and the Applied Mycology Laboratory which they direct, Robinson explores the uses of and ability to control the spalting process, thereby advancing knowledge to both the science and art communities. The exhibit of Robinson's spalted wood objects seeks to fortify the connection between the sciences and arts as disciplines that can inform each other. Robinson's works are exquisitely crafted minimalist forms often alluding to functional objects or stylized or non-representational predominantly organic forms. Robinson's work reminds us to be curious about the world around us. Their art additionally allows us to continue to be awed by the diversity and unpredictable beauty of nature.