Michael Selemi

The current Featured Artist show at Hillsborough Gallery of Arts is called “Trilogy.” At first, the name suggested to me nothing more than that there were three featured artists. But then it occurred to me that Trilogy suggest a challenge—making interesting triples. Stepping up to the challenge has been a lot of fun and produced some interesting pieces.

The signature threesome of the show is a group of “multi-axis” statuettes which I call Day, Night and Dusk. I made the statues from Holly, a white wood, and Wenge, a black wood. I laminated Holly and Wenge to make the blank for Dusk. I then turned the blanks around two different centers creating forms which remind me of African female figures.

A second grouping in the show is a series of “pool cue” vases. The blank for each of the vases was created by taking a core rod of wood and then adding lamination layers in contrasting colors. Turning through the blanks reveals the sort of colored curves that one sees pool cue handles.

A third grouping is a set of Cherry hollow forms each with an undercut rim. I made the forms as close to identical as I could and then distinguished each by dying the rim a different color—red, blue and a very deep purple that is nearly black.

A fourth grouping is a double set of three—six ikebana identical in all respects except for the wood employed. I chose woods that created a gradual transition from white to black by starting with Holly, then using both light and dark Cherry, then using the pinkish Ebiara, and finally using Walnut and Wenge. Each of the Ikebana is of Asian form with a square downward sloping rim and a slightly rounded crown.

A fifth group is a set of cantilevered bowls made from three different species of Australian burl. The shapes of each bowl are quite similar with the rim of the bowl following the natural edge of the burl used to make it and with the curve of the bowl continuing through the rim. The burls themselves contribute great beauty to the pieces with pleasing color gradations and swirl patterns.

I also created a group of nesting Sycamore bowls, three square-rim bowl forms in Red Hear, Purple Heart and Walnut, three plates with laminated stripes, and three small Padauk boxes with identical finials but slightly different covers.

Making threes has not only been fun but it has also challenged me to create differences Waamong wood turned pieces while preserving the feature that defines the group. The show which includes work by Marcy Lansman and Alice Levinson will be on display until October 21. I hope those who visit enjoy seeing my work as much as I enjoyed making it.


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