Submitted by SJIMA
Michael Peterson is part of the “Dialogues From the Forest” current exhibit at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art.
He will present an overview of surface development and chainsaw sculpting techniques, with samples of sculpture work available for handling during a presentation called “Revealing the surface.”
Peterson uses a chainsaw as his primary carving tool, cutting and hollowing multiple forms from Pacific madrone burl, then carving, gouging, sandblasting, hand-sanding, waxing, staining, pigmenting and bleaching, after natural drying causes the wood to bend, curl, split and contract. The larger forces in nature – energy, growth, movement and decay – play an active role in each final work. The works exhibit a profound reverence for nature, and trust. Nature is a partner in Peterson’s work and the sculpture defines itself under his hands: parallels between forces shaping unseasoned wood, and geologic forces operating on a grander scale are both expressions of nature’s unstoppable energy which fill him with wonder. His profoundly worked surfaces expose the clear kinship between artist, natural source and time.
Peterson was introduced to wood in 1975, and has since built a strong foundation in his approach to surface and organic form in revealing the transformative qualities of unseasoned madrone burl.
He has developed a body of work that has grown to include evolution/revolution, a traveling solo exhibition curated by the Bellevue Art Museum touring to a wide national audience; “A Revolution in Wood” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum; and “Craft Spoken Here” at Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Peterson’s work is in numerous private and public collections throughout the U.S. and England, including: the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Charlotte, North Carolina; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
In 2014, Peterson was a recipient of a Washington State Artist Trust Fellowship award.
This text is condensed from the exhibit catalog with permission for publication.