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Indepth Arts News:

"MOULTHROP GENERATIONS: Turned Wood Vessels by Ed, Philip, and Matt Moulthrop"
2007-10-20 until 2008-02-24
ASU Art Museum
Tempe, AZ, USA

The Moulthrops are a dynasty of artists – grandfather, son, and grandson – who have made significant contributions to the field of wood turning and share a consistency of vision and process. Ed began turning as a teenager in the 1930s; Philip began turning in the 1970s; Matt, who has spent his life around wood, is just beginning his career. Philip and Matt both apprenticed with Ed in Atlanta, Georgia, where each now has his own studio. Moulthrop Generations: Turned Wood Vessels by Ed, Philip, and Matt Moulthrop presents more than seventy turned wood vessels from 1979 until today by the three artists.

The ASU Art Museum has a long history of presenting and collecting contemporary turned wood, beginning with the landmark gift of the Edward “Bud” Jacobson collection in 1989. Wood turning refers to the use of a lathe to make three-dimensional round forms. A lathe enables an artist to use a stationary blade to carve a revolving block of wood evenly. In the 1960s and 70s, wood turning emerged with other contemporary craft forms as a process and medium for the individual in a studio to express ideas, whether in vessel or sculptural form. Contemporary wood turners use lathes to carve one-of-a-kind wooden bowls or sculptures often removed from traditional functions.

Together the Moulthrops’ careers frame and exemplify the emergence of wood turning as an art form. The Moulthrops are known for their concentration on the inherent beauty of local woods, elegant vessel forms, and innovations in surface treatment and turning technique. Ed Moulthrop began turning when, in a well-known story, he scraped the money together from delivering magazines to buy his first lathe for $16.95. Now considered one of the grandfathers of contemporary wood turning, he quietly and consistently produced a body of work that meditated on the most perfect form possible with the lathe and the variety of wood found in his home state of Georgia. These preoccupations are the basis of Philip’s and now Matt’s work, with individual variations. Their works are immediately recognizable for the primacy of the wood and the refined vessel forms.

While the Moulthrops are well represented in national and international museum collections, Moulthrop Generations is the first major museum exhibition to bring the three generations together. Moulthrop Generations presents the breadth of their work, and reveals their important place within the field of wood turning and contemporary craft.

Matt Moulthrop
Chalice, 2006,
Black willow,
14 x 7 1/4 in.
ASU Art Museum Collection,
Gift of the artist and Bentley Gallery/Bentley Projects,
Scottsdale/Phoenix, AZ.

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