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Critters enliven classical turned wood exhibition

February 19, 2002

What: Learning to Squeak, an MFA thesis exhibition featuring sculptural works created in turned wood. The artist enhances his classical turned wood bowls with animals and insects made of turned wood, and/or cast bronze.

Where: Harry Wood Gallery, Art Building, ASU Main, Tempe. (900 Forest Mall on the west side of campus near the intersection of Forest and Tyler Malls.)

Who: Joey Gottbrath, a graduate student at the School of Art in the Herberger College of Fine Arts at ASU.

When: March 4-8.
Opening Reception: 7-9 p.m., March 6.

Hours: Monday-Thursday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Friday: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Cost: Always Free

About the Exhibition: Joey Gottbrath, a graduate student at ASU’s Herberger College School of Art, presents sculptural works in wood in his thesis exhibition. Mice, bees, humming birds, ants and even dung beetles hold pride of place in or on Gottbrath’s beautiful turned wood bowls.

The unique collection that forms the exhibition, Learning to Squeak, grew out of Gottbrath’s time spent at Colorado’s Anderson Ranch Arts Center last summer, where he worked with many big name wood turners.

Gottbrath says that his title, Learning to Squeak, is a play on the fact that he is finding his artistic voice through his unique wood creations featuring critters on or in his beautiful bowls. The small insects, animals and birds are created, in most cases, by fitting together multiple pieces of turned wood to create the complete critter. Occasionally, Gottbrath uses his foundry skills to create cast bronze legs, or in the case of the cicadas, the entire insect.

“As my turning got better, my confidence in making sculpture also increased. They’ve always gone hand in hand for me,” Gottbrath says. 

“Because I’m a classically trained artist, I wasn’t satisfied with just vessel making. I wanted to add context and a deeper meaning to these bowls, so I added the sculptural element. It’s a very personal thing. I didn’t think I was expressing enough with the bowl. I need to create a more literal and direct dialogue, and that comes from the creation of these objects,” he says.

The public is invited to meet the artist at an opening reception on March 6 at 7 p.m.

About the Images: 
Three Blind Rats (detail) by Joey Gottbrath. 2002. 16” x 16” x 8” each.
Dung Beetles by Joey Gottbrath. 2002. 6” x 6” x 6” each.
Jack and the Pumpkin Problem by Joey Gottbrath. 2002. 18” x 3’ x 3’.

The Harry Wood Gallery is one of three galleries on the ASU Tempe campus operated by students, staff and faculty of ASU’s School of Art in The Katherine K. Herberger College of Fine Arts. The Harry Wood Gallery features solo thesis exhibitions and group shows by graduate students pursuing master of fine arts (MFA) degrees and group shows by undergraduate students.

Media Contact:
Jennifer Pringle