THE ICHIBOKU SCULPTURES BY MARK LINDQUIST
Ichiboku, literally "one tree," is a type of Japanese sculpture made from
a single block of wood. This technique flourished in the ninth century
when a spirit of religious revivalism prevailed, and the spirit of the
tree was invoked to lend strength to the image carved from it.
During the early Heian period, wood's predominant use for sculpture brought about unusual techniques as well as profound rituals. A mystical ritualistic aspect of purification was required in the use of materials, and the sculptor would purify himself as well as his tools prior to working.
The works in Mark Lindquist's "Ichiboku" series of sculptures are based on techniques and ideologies of Japanese Heian period artists. The sculptures are lathe-turned and carved from North Florida cherry and pecan woods, and polychromed or stained with pigments in oils. The following statements explain the historical references to which the titles allude.
Natabori (center), "hatchet carving," refers to a technique in Japanese Buddhist sculpture of the Heian period in which the surface of the work is not smoothed off, but instead decorative patterns of repetitive hatchet strokes are allowed to articulate the outer skin of the image.
Mongaku (left) was a late twelfth century samurai who retreated to the Kumano Mountains and stood under the ice-cold waters of Nachi Waterfall for penance and to temper his resolve. Afterward he became a priest and took up residence in the Temple of Jingoji in the Takao Mountains where he devoted his energies to the restoration of the temple. He was a man of prodigious energy and inner strength, a dark and brooding figure resident deep in the mountains outside of Kyoto.
Yama Uba (right), "old woman of the mountains," is an enigmatic mythic figure from the Heian period, sometimes a benevolent spirit, sometimes a nurturing mother. She made a home in the mountains where she reared her son Kintaro, a child of extraordinary strength. (He later became the renowned warrior Sakata no Kintoki.) Yama Uba is often depicted as a solitary soul wandering through the hills, savoring the passage of seasons, and becoming one with the natural world.
Consultant on Titles:
The late Dr. Penelope Mason, friend of Mark and Kathy Lindquist, was Professor of Art History/Director of Asian Studies, Florida State University, when she wrote about Mark Lindquist’s sculptures in 1990.
A student of Dr. Edward Kidder, the foremost authority on Japanese art history, Penelope Mason authored History of Japanese Art, which is used in colleges and universities throughout the world.
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," this exhibition remains the only one-person show in the field of studio woodturning in the history of the institution.
Ken Trapp, curator-in-charge of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, says of Lindquist's career:
"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 ceramic sensibilities.
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 his material.
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. The three pieces on display in the Gadsden Arts Center are from his "Ichiboku 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.
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