Bowl in camphor laurel by Terry Martin
It’s the mark of a mature artist when there is no fear of stripping back to bare lines. Simple forms can please and deceive the eye at the same time however. When people ask Terry Martin how long it took him to turn a particular piece he might say 40 years, because achieving technical mastery and developing an eye for form and proportion doesn't happen overnight.
Terry is a well known curator and author of magazine articles and books, the most recent being The Creative Woodturner where he offers processes for generating new ideas and developing new techniques and designs. So it is interesting to see how this new collection represents a kind of home-coming, both thematically and in terms of it being his first exhibition in Brisbane since 1998.
Terry Martin, flame sheoak form
In Terry’s own words: ‘After so many years travelling the world for high-pressure events, it has been a wonderful experience spending quiet hours in the workshop making pieces for this show. Because the atmosphere in the gallery is so Japanese, I decided to match the aesthetic by making simple bowls. It is something that I spent many years doing after I settled in Brisbane in 1988 and I have enjoyed rediscovering the pleasure of this familiar work.’
The wood used ranges from camphor laurel with its often surprising variations of colour and grain, through to old growth red cedar, and pale spalted jacaranda. ‘Most of the bowls are made from recycled or storm-damaged trees, including trees knocked down by the Brisbane floods’, said Terry.
Australian red cedar platter
Terry Martin is also well known for the reverence for trees he portrays in his work most clearly seen in his ‘Tree’ sculptures which are crafted from single burls. Although expressed differently, that message still comes through here: ‘Each bowl is a celebration of the life of the tree, simple lines, and quiet contemplation’, he said.
‘Bowls’ can be seen until December 10 at Gallery Shin, 354 Montague Rd, West End, Brisbane. Gallery hours are 10am to 4pm.
See also Terry Martin’s article ‘A Simple Bowl’ in the December issue of Wood Review.