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WOOD ... from TREE to Vessel / Table / Sculpture

Visions in Wood, the 5th Annual Bryan Cultural Series Invitational Exhibition Highlights the Beauty of Wood in Art

Kip Tabb

The Bryan Cultural Series 5th Annual Invitational Exhibition entitled “Wood—From TREE to Vessel.” Featuring creative visions in paint, photography, sculpture and wooden vessels, the exhibition at Glenn Eure’s Ghost Fleet Gallery through October 29 is remarkable for the diversity of expression the artists have found.

“Wood is organic,” the exhibit’s curator and organizer Bryan Cultural Series board member Didi Tupper said. “It’s tactile. Touching it makes us feel closer to nature. It calls us to appreciated the importance it plays in our lives.”

Ninety years ago there was a wooden bridge crossing New Inlet, a largely forgotten link between Pea Island and the rest of Hatteras Island. There have been two bridges since that time. There was the temporary bridge NCDOT used to span the new New Inlet after Hurricane Irene in 2011. The Richard Etheridge Bridge was the more permanent solution, opening in 2017.

But the bridge is still there, easily visible in the daylight from NC12, though there is little left of it now, just the wooden skeleton of its pilings and piers.

But at night, when the Milky Way is swirling into space and mysterious lights highlight the bones of the bridge, the ancient span takes on an ethereal look, a feeling that photographer George Wood has captured perfectly in his Old Bridge-New Inlet photograph.

The photography is stunning in the photographers’ ability to create a story in a single still image.

“Valentine,” Biff Jennings’ study of the an Outer Banks sound on a cold winter day at sunset is beautifully evocative. “Twilight at Nags Head Pier” by Dan Waters captures a sense of movement and colors that we miss when we don’t take a moment to pause and reflect on what we are seeing.

The show is much more than photography and some of the most stunning pieces in the exhibition are the works in wood.

Jim Bumpas has taken the simple idea of a container—a wooden vessel— and created an artistic vision that is rare and memorable. His work, “Tall Boxes,” two cylindrical vase-like containers are cherry with pyrography weaving intricate and subtle designs in the wood. “Vase” is a simple name for a deceptively complex work in spalted maple. The vertical lines of Bumpas’ work and subtle hues of the wood seem to capture a sense of motion in a stationary object.

There is also sculpting in wood, and it goes from the delicate birds that Vic and Ellen Berg have created in “Peeps” to the life-sized dragon head “Celtic Dragon” from Dale Root.

There are some wonderful paintings as well. One of the more interesting visions from an artist in the Wood Show is Maggie Sawyer’s four piece collection of trees at various times of the year and in different configurations. The each painting stands alone, but taken in its entirety, the collection seems to tell the story of a forest as it goes through time.

It is not possible to call out every work and every artist represented in this year’s Invitational Exhibition. There is simply too much and the range of creative expression is too great to discuss everything.  This is a show that is worth a visit to the Ghost Fleet Gallery and an hour or so of time, to take in what the artists are saying in their art and to simply be surrounded by some wonderful examples of creativity.

Some pieces are available through a silent auction. Be sure to check those out as well.

Next up for the Bryan Cultural Series is Ocracoke’s Molasses Creek Band performing with Coyote. The combination of the best of the musicians on the Island performing together will create a memorable evening of music.

Molasses Creek Band and Coyote will be in concert Saturday, October 23 at 7:00 p.m. at the First Flight High School Auditorium. Tickets $15.00 and will be available at the door.

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