Bound by Nature is an exhibition of sculptural wool art by Kimber Olson inspired by symbiotic partnerships in woodland environments. The exhibition is complemented by Art from the Lathe, featuring sculptural work in wood from the AAW permanent collection.
Mutuality abounds in woodland environments. It also explains why an exhibition of textiles in a venue that specializes in wood art may not be as unlikely a prospect as it seems. The AAW Gallery of Wood Art will host an exhibition of wool sculptures that are premised on mutuality, a type of symbiotic relationship where two distinct species work cooperatively to the benefit of both. Kimber Olson’s textiles reference organisms like lichens, mycorrhizal root networks, and more. Lichens are made up of algae and fungi. The algae benefit the fungi by providing nutrients through the process of photosynthesis, and the fungi provide protection and humidity for the algae to thrive. Organic materials are at the core of woodturners’ and Olson’s art. Trees are the source of art from the lathe. Wool is the principal material in Olson’s art, however, the works are thematically tied to woodlands. Organic, sustainable and biodegradable — wool is an ideal material for art that explores ecological processes. Olson’ art includes traditional and nuno felt, a process in which cloth and wool are combined to produce highly textured surfaces evocative of living organisms. And in a nod to the woodturners, Olson integrated wood into some of her works. Kimber Olson aims to deepen understanding of how nature works and inspire commitment to the environment through her art. Infusing traditional hand processes with contemporary twists, Olson explores organic processes to mine themes of temporality, interdependency, and regeneration. Bound by Nature was made possible by a 2017 Artist Initiative grant Kimber Olson received from the Minnesota State Arts Board.