MARK LINDQUIST in his Quincy, FL Studio, 2004
John McFadden/Lindquist Studios
Mark Lindquist has been an innovator and leader in the field of
woodturning/sculpture since the late 1960s. Lindquist's thirty-plus years
of contributions to contemporary art have altered the direction of
woodturning and sculpture worldwide.
The Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian
Institution, honored Lindquist with a retrospective exhibition in 1995 entitled "Mark Lindquist: Revolutions in Wood."
Ken Trapp, curator-in-charge of the
Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, says of
"In the early 1970s, Mark Lindquist’s exploration of Japanese ceramic
traditions and modern sculptural ideals through the medium of woodturning
elevated this traditional craft into an art form expressive of the
cultural and ideological developments of the times. He continues to
transcend the ever-expanding limits of woodturning, adding to the richness
of the discourse within this significant American art movement."
Mark Lindquist's sculpture has evolved out of his art historical studies
and his mastery of, and experimentation with, the craft of woodturning.
Beginning in the late 1960s, he developed many of the techniques and
aesthetic concepts which underlie the current studio woodturning movement,
including the use of flawed materials (especially spalted wood), the
application of modern abrasive technology, and the integration of Japanese
Through exhibiting, writing and teaching, Lindquist was instrumental in
bringing about the acceptance of the craft of woodturning as a serious art
form, and inspired and nurtured the followers of this fledgling movement.
Echoes of Mark's innovative turning concepts -- the natural top bowl, the
celebration of the tool-mark on the surface of the bowl, the captive bowl,
the bowl as landscape, and many others -- continue to reverberate
throughout today's turning world. In the late 1970's, having achieved
national acceptance for his work (including acquisition by the
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City), Lindquist withdrew from
active participation in the craft world, and began a broader exploration
into contemporary and historical sculptural themes, such as the totem,
Japanese Heian wood sculpture, and the woodblock print.
Lindquist developed a system for coupling the chainsaw to the lathe, and
began producing massive, yet lyrical, sculptures that, while speaking
directly of our machine age, make a timeless statement about the
relationship between man and nature. Using retrofitted obsolete machinery
from the height of the industrial revolution, Lindquist celebrates the
"accidental" rhythms and patterns created by each machine's
idiosyncrasies, just as he celebrates the aesthetic value of the flaws in
Using his lathe/chainsaw and other innovative technologies as well as
traditional sculpture methods, Lindquist has developed several continuing
series of sculptures, including his "Totemic Series", "Captive Series," "Ichiboku
Series," and polychromed wall relief series.
Lindquist’s works have been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout
the United States and Europe, and have been acquired by the Art Institute
of Chicago, the Mint Museum of Craft and Design in Charlotte, the White
House Collection of American Craft, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Boston
Museum of Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the High Museum in
Atlanta, the National Museum of American Art of the Smithsonian, the
Detroit Institute of Arts, Bank of America headquarters in Charlotte, and
numerous other public and private collections.
CRITICAL STATEMENTS REGARDING LINDQUIST'S ART
Mark Lindquist creates
sculptural form by using traditional turning processes but at an
almost unimaginably monumental scale. Liberty Mallet
of 2006 is a technical tour de force in virtuoso wood turning
technique and, like all of Lindquist's sculpture, it exists on
multiple levels... reflecting on rich
social and political metaphors...
From: The Presence of Absence:
Exploring the Void in Contemporary Wood Sculpture
Hal Nelson, Director Long Beach Museum of Art, Collectors of Wood
Art exhibition at SOFA Chicago, November 9-12, 2006, Catalog page 4
his father, Melvin,) were the first contemporary turners to fully explore
the use of burls, spalted wood, and wood with deformities such as bark
inclusions and natural edges within their bowl and vase forms. Mark then
began altering his traditional two-dimensional sanded and polished pieces
by using standard turning tools and chainsaw techniques. He thus
developed surfaces that provided the three-dimensional motif that became
integral to his work. Mark was the first to explore making totems and to
develop the use of robotics in making his work. Along with his wife,
Kathy, Mark was also the first to refine techniques in photographing his
work, which have now become the standard methods we use today. Equally
important, he had an extraordinary impact on developing the marketing
techniques that opened doors into the permanent collections of museums
like the Smithsonian and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In addition, he
was foremost in establishing a pricing structure for his own work that
woke up the woodturning world…
American Woodturner - Winter 2006 (POP Merit Fellowship Awards).
The most striking
feature of Mark Lindquist's wood sculptures is that they still have so
much of the tree in them...it is this regard which unites his crafts
background and his interest in Japan: in both, respect for material as
itself has been acceptable. It is Lindquist's not inconsiderable
achievement to reveal this attitude in his sculpture.
Janet Koplos, Editor, Art in America
contributions to [the American woodturning] movement in terms of technical
innovations and reconsideration of the vessel as a sculptural form rich in
cultural and stylistic associations are so profound and far-reaching that
they have reconstituted the field....His generosity in disseminating his
ideas and techniques among great numbers of woodturners through carefully
researched essays on his ground-breaking discoveries and his basic primer
Sculpting Wood: Contemporary Tools and Techniques has had the net result
of making many of his pioneering feats regularly accepted practices. Some
of his important technical innovations have received...a sweeping imprimatur
from the modern studio woodturning movement....In addition, his artistic
reconfiguration of woodturning in terms of Korean and Japanese ceramics,
oriental philosophy, and Judeo-Christian symbols demands investigation in
order to understand how he has transformed this genre into a metaphoric
discourse on the nature of being."
Rhoda Thalhimer Endowed Professor of American Art History, Virginia
from Mark Lindquist: Revolutions in Wood, catalog essay for
Lindquist's twenty-five year retrospective at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American
Art Museum, Washington, DC, March 15 - July 7, 1996
As a young man, Mark Lindquist produced majestic wood-turned vessels of
classical shape, and earned a reputation as one of the nation's most
highly regarded master craftsmen of wood-turned objects. The
disciplined, elegant formality of [Lindquist's sculptures] combines
traditional associations and a contemporary sensibility. His
sculptures seem to share a kinship...with the modernist works of Brancusi
and Noguchi. Lindquist remains one of the most knowledgeable of
artists about wood.
Josephine Gear, Director of the
Whitney Museum of American
at Philip Morris, Eight Contemporary Sculptors,
The Lowe Art Museum (1994)
With his new works Lindquist joins a small but important
group of craftsmen‑turned‑sculptors that includes Robert Arneson, Howard
Ben Tre, Wendell Castle and Peter Voulkos. Like these artists, he takes
the craftsman's concern for materials to the level of metaphor, and thus
he creates art.
Sculpture Magazine (1990)
among [contemporary woodturning artists] is Mark Lindquist . . . who has
gone beyond the vessel form to blur the distinction between turning and
sculpture. Lindquist is unique among his contemporaries in his
fundamentally sculptural approach to the wooden vessel. In a radical
departure from even the most innovative techniques, Lindquist . . . uses
an elaborate sequence of tools, particularly the lathe and chainsaw along
with others of his own design, to achieve his ends.
American Decorative Arts and Sculpture
of Fine Arts, Boston (1991)
I think, is that . . . crafts today . . . are assured of a renaissance.
But they can enjoy this renaissance only by acknowledging certain strict
limitations. . . . Mark Lindquist's Windsoar Cloud Chair will not, as it
is not intended to, displace the Eames chair. Still, the comment that it
makes is well worth making.
American Craft (1988)
[Lindquist] has raised innovative turned wood forms into an art. . . . [In
his] rough‑hewn forms . . . the bite of the lathe communicates emotional
Malarcher, New York Times (1983)
Lindquist's remarkable ability to animate and shape wood into a dense yet
lyrical form is a major contribution to the art of contemporary wood
Museum of Art
Lindquist's "bowls" . . . are not functional containers . . . but are
created as sculptural symbols in which . . . the harmony between the
interior and exterior becomes a statement of man and nature.
Siegel, New York Times (1979)
addition to the sense of timelessness engendered by the wood and the
ancient vessel shapes, Lindquist strives to create a feeling of vast space
. . . architectonic scale . . . here, the wood plays a supporting role to
Lindquist's expressionistic markings.
[Lindquist has] contemplated the wood for years before making [a work of
art] . . . and when the time arrives . . . there is an explosion in space
and time, creating a new world out of the old. . . . [His works] provide a
metaphor for the interweavings of human lives.
Nancy Means Wright, American Craft (1980)
Lindquist has played an important role in the American studio woodturning
movement. A master turner, he continues to push the limits of his medium,
using the lathe and chain saw as sculptural tools. Lindquist's powerful
sculptural forms have helped to establish wood turning as a viable and
valuable contemporary art form.
Connell, Guest Curator
Museum of the South
Wood by American Craftsmen (1992)
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