July 25 - August 26, 2001
Musical Trees features the bowed stringed wood instrument makers of Grey-Bruce. The artists are Ed Bartlett, Lou Currah, Jesse Merrill, Greg Walke, Sibylle Ruppert, David Prentice, and John Newton. The exhibition is scheduled to coincide with the annual Durham Wood Show.
Most cultures have been making musical instruments that can be plucked, thumped, blown and drawn throughout all ages. The music that we call classical, mostly from the 18th mando-cello century, relies heavily on the bowed string instruments, the violin, viola, cello and bass, which are made by skilled artists and craftspeople who shape, carve, cut and assemble wood into the forms that will emit musical notes.
For the instrument maker, wood is assessed for many aesthetics, apart from texture, grain, colour, durability. Will it resonate? Will it allow itself to be bent and curved? Will it be light enough to be held up for hours? Will it look beautiful in addition to playing well? The artists in this exhibition know wood and music and are able to put the two together. Material is as seductive to them as the violin or viola they make. Wood that was once locked up inside a tree has been released because of the vision and artistry of the instrument maker.
David Wilde, curator