New Turned Wood

wood artDistinctive work of two generations of Georgia wood turners.

Bentley Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of Philip Moulthrop and his son Matt Moulthrop.

Philip’s father, Ed Moulthrop – a Princeton-educated, architect-turned wood turner – emerged onto the art scene in the early 1960s, when contemporary art and craft was coming together, thus opening the door for skilled artisans to create works that were appreciated alongside painting, drawing, sculpture and photography. Embracing Ed’s restrained, minimalist aesthetic, Philip, and later Matt, followed the family tradition of showcasing the uniquely inherent beauty of their medium of wood, with its characteristic grains and colors.

In the book, Moulthrop: A Legacy in Wood, author Kevin Wallace writes, “While the early pioneers of artistic wood turning, with their embrace of pure form, can be understood within the context of modernist theory and practice, the Moulthrops are among the few artists working in the field today who have continued on this path.

While many wood turners have become concerned with manipulation of wood and displays of technical virtuosity, Moulthrop vessels are simple, sleek and seductive. As artists, the Moulthrops see their role as selecting forms that serve the materials, trusting the choice of nature to speak clearly and eloquently.”

Philip Moulthrop got his law degree in the mid-70s and had planned on being a lawyer and wood turner at the same time, but eventually working with his hands won out. Philip doesn’t replicate his father’s pieces, but builds on the Moulthrop technique. His designs are pure and unadorned, with smooth, clean lines. In the early 90’s Philip developed the Mosaic series, his most significant contribution to the wood turning field. His work in wood has brought him into contact with world leaders, as his pieces are often selected as gifts for foreign dignitaries. “When the G-8 Summit met in Georgia [2004] they asked me to make bowls for each of the leaders,” Philip explains. In 2012 he received the State of Georgia Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities.

A graduate of Georgia Tech, woodturning has been a part of Matt Moulthrop’s life for as long as he can remember. He attributes the high quality of his work to the knowledge of woodturning he received from his father and grandfather. Matt describes his approach, “Each piece I create is a unique experience for me, and hopefully, the viewer. I endeavor to inject into each one a balance of color and form, shape and substance, that fully displays the beauty and richness of the tree.” In 2012 Matt’s work was exhibited at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 40 Under 40, an exhibition that featured 40 artists born since 1972, who examine the notion of craft within traditional media. The artists were chosen for living in society with an emphasis on sustainability and a return to valuing the “handmade.”

Bentley Gallery has been exhibiting the Moulthrop’s wood vessels for more than 15 years. Ed, Philip, and Matt’s work is included in numerous museum collections throughout the country. In 2011 PBS aired a documentary entitled Craft in America: The Moulthrops.

“The artistry of Ed Moulthrop has been inherited – perhaps enhanced, by that of his son Philip and grandson Matt.”   – President Jimmy Carter

“The Moulthrop family is an Atlanta treasure.”   – Michael E. Shapiro. Director, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA


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