The Stories We Tell: Works by Tommy Simpson, Michelle Holzapfel and Binh Pho

The Stories We Tell: Works by Tommy Simpson, Michelle Holzapfel and Binh Pho
Yareah Magazine

Michelle Holzapfel, Cores Arranged According to the Laws of Chance, 2012. 32 x 18 x 6 inches. Hardwoods, plywood, found objects, Preiser HO, gauge model railroad figures, photos, 1942 Encyclopedia Britannica page. Photo by David Holzapfel.

The Stories We Tell: Works by Tommy Simpson, Michelle Holzapfel, and Binh Pho at (Brockton, Mass.) Fuller Craft Museum, New England’s home for contemporary craft Museum. March 9, 2014 – June 15, 2014.

The use of narrative in craft is especially powerful, as it elevates everyday materials and brings functional objects to life. By telling a story through material expression, artists help us understand the meaning behind the objects—and how their personal narratives connect to our own. Craft artists employ a variety of media to articulate their stories: clay, fiber, metal, glass, wood. Whatever the chosen medium, the material becomes part of the story, inextricably woven with the narrative process and finished artwork.

For the three artists featured in The Stories We Tell: Tommy Simpson, Michelle Holzapfel, and Binh Pho, wood is their main medium of expression. Each of these artists transforms their “tabula rasa” from an ordinary object to an extraordinary story. This exhibition is divided into three separate sections with three separate subtitles: Tommy Simpson’s Love Letters to the Natural World, Michelle Holzapfel’s From What’s at Hand, and Binh Pho’s Shadow of the Turning.


Tommy Simpson, Sunshine in My Sky, 2011. Painted wood.

Tommy Simpson Talk “Love Letters to the Natural World” Saturday, April 12, 2:00 pm.

Wood Turning Demo and 3:00 pm talk “Shadow of the Turning” with artist Binh Pho, Sunday, May 4, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Michelle Holzapfel Talks About “From What’s at Hand” Sunday, June 1, 2:00 pm.

About Tommy Simpson:

With a career that spans five decades, Tommy Simpson is an “imaginist” who skillfully works in multiple mediums. In Love Letters to the Natural World, his carved wood sculptures, studio furniture, and textiles brim with playfulness and illustrate our universal connections to nature. Simpson incorporates text and a visual vocabulary of representational elements (figures, animals, symbols of the natural world) to express his profound reverence for nature.

About Michelle Holzapfel:

Michelle Holzapfel’s exhibit From What’s at Hand presents her sumptuous carvings that reveal the importance of her process and a deep understanding of the material. Rather than seeking perfection, Michelle embraces the natural defects in wood, transforming inherent flaws into true beauty. Holzapfel was one of the first female turners to achieve widespread acclaim in a male-dominated field, and much of her sculptures explore crisscrossing themes of gender roles, domesticity, cultural norms, nature, and chance.

About Binh Pho:

Binh Pho creates a mystical, intricately-detailed world in his piece called Shadow of the Turning, which is developed to illustrate the fictional work (of the same name) by writer/curator, Kevin Wallace. Binh Pho’s finely detailed objects create a bridge between literature, art, and philosophy, while exploring autobiographical approaches to storytelling through woodturning, sculpture, painting, and glass.

Binh Pho

Binh Pho, Descendant of the Dream (1). Box elder, acrylic paints.

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