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WOOD: art design architecture at JamFactory

Co-curators of WOOD: art design architecture, Elliat Rich and Brian Parkes, have created a little wooden forest of objects for us to float around and get lost in. The insightful duo have collected together the sublime works of 28 talented contemporary Australian artists, designers, and architects and created an engaging celebration of all things wood.

The exhibition of these works is a wonderful exploration of the historical, technological, and social significance of this ancient material.

Even though wood appears to be a simple, static material to work with, it is often not the case. Wood can crack, expand, and warp (I have experienced all three of these occurrences at once), and only the most skilled craftspeople can get the most out of this deceptively problematic substance.

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This exhibition is filled with work from exceptional artists who have managed to tame this dynamic and beautiful material. Very little, if any, surface treatment is employed in the works, leaving the purity and character of the wood to speak for itself.

It is a rare occurrence that art, design, and architecture are collectively exhibited. This current gathering of the trinity allows for the examination of a wide variety of forms and manufacturing processes; from purely conceptual studies of form, to designed and manufactured solutions to everyday problems.

The evolution of our use of wood as a building material is inexorably tied to the evolution of humanity itself—as we evolved, so too did our ability to manipulate our surroundings.

Works utilising new technologies and processes like laser cutting sit comfortably amongst works utilising more traditional technologies and techniques, such as hand carving. Artists also combine wood with man-made materials like steel and concrete, enacting a merging of nature and technology.

Timber from managed plantation forests and repurposed and reinvigorated materials abound, leaving the viewer basking in the feeling of respect for the environment.

This broad representation of our interactions with wood lends the exhibition a sense of history, illustrating the inspiration of the new by the traditional.

This exhibition will be hitting the road nationally in the coming months, but if you happen to be in Adelaide in early April, head in to the JamFactory and experience the nature of WOOD.

Heath Campbell is an Adelaide based journalist with a product design background, currently contributing to Elitismstyle and online student portal The Design Kids, as well as managing his own website, Rescrub.

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