These works began over twenty years ago.

I had removed the bark from dead birch trees that I had grown up with at our family’s cottage and turned them inside out, creating concave columns seven feet high. This process revealed the entire 360-degree surface of each tree, complete with the mushrooms and fungus of their decay.

After living with these for a few years, I reduced their scale and mounted them on the wall, the form of an open book now holding these inside-out “moments” from nature. By then I had also realized I could mirror the form and texture of the original mushrooms using dictionaries. These became intimate dioramas, evocative of maps or the language of time, written on a windswept background.

In these latest, much smaller and now freestanding works, the vertical grain on the exterior accentuates the horizontal landscape of the interior within the space of its thickness. The surfaces of these mushrooms also have a patina of silver and gold, wet-mixed with the vibrant colors of the forests where I often walk. The words and definitions within these dictionaries, our bibles of communication, have been re-machined and opened up, returning them to the natural cycles and materials from which they came.

My studio of the past five years --where these works were completed-- is set within a beautiful deciduous forest whose growth is at its climax. Maples, Birch, White and Red Pines soar over 90 feet in height. Cedars are also abundant, spiraling out of the pure white limestone of the Niagara escarpment that spreads across the central Great Lakes and envelopes the coastline of my studio at the tip of Door County in Northeastern Wisconsin.


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© 2013 Steven Woodward. All rights reserved.