GOING WITH THE GRAIN
Coming full circle in his long life as a sculptor, Nick Edmonds creates sculptural worlds filled with people, boats, clouds and rocks. Each carefully carved wood sculpture takes the viewer to a extraordinary place.
“Crystal Creek Pond” depicts his childhood memories of swimming in his grandfather’s trout pond. Small, carved wood pieces become hills, trees reflected in water, a quiet pond, or pebble rocks of glacial till. As an adolescent, Edmonds delighted in carving balsa wood into boats and people. Today, still carving small wood pieces, he combines them into detailed scenes and then paints the wood to tell his stories. They’ll be in “Pastoral” throughout May and June at the Catamount Arts Gallery in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.
Each sculpture’s title clearly indicates Edmonds’ interpretational intensions. But the works are vague enough that alternate visions can be enjoyed. The shapes in “Crystal Creek Pond” may also be interpreted as ocean waves dripping with seaweed, crabs and foam, the upward thrusting gray sticks as driftwood upended, supporting yellowgreen marshes.
Before carving the wood, Edmonds begins with a specific plan for each piece, often making detailed exploratory drawings, several of which are included in the exhibit. The wood pieces are then carved, assembled and held together with pegs and dowels. A wooden armature supports the sculpted parts that are painted in suggestive colors, such as blue for sky and grays for rocks. Many of the sculptures are further
united by thin black lines drawn around the wood. These lines are essential to the success of the works as they provide a unifying thread or web that performs three functions. First, the web divides the chunky pieces into parts and thus helps to create a smaller scale. Second, they create textures of rocks or trees, or define other particulars. In addition, the web-line technique helps each sculpture to relate to the others in the exhibition, defining Edmonds’ personal style.