Conservation By Design
Wood is often referred to as a renewable resource, although both temperate and tropical forests aroudn the world are disappearing at an alarming rate due to the strains of consumption and lack of concerted resource management. On a global level, environmental problems are becoming more difficult to solve as social, political, and economic issues become more complex in a war-torn, industrialized world. While Americans commonly assume that the most pressing problems of rainforest destruction exist in another hemisphere, we continue to deplete our own temperate forests, including the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, faster than they renew themselves. The good news is that forests, unlike mineral or petroleum deposits, grow back, and their yields are sustainable if properly managed. If more commercial forests were responsibly managed for long-term benefit and incentives existed for wood producers, consumers and distributors to work together, other forests, including the rare surviving old-growth forests, could be preserved for future generations.
This exhibition features recent work in wood by more than seventy artists from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Korea. In presenting their diverse approaches to complicated issues of forest conservation and management, we hope to stimulate creative dialogue about responsible wood selection, including the promotion of lesser-known species, certified plantation-grown hardwoods, and salvaged or recycled materials. The objects in this and the adjoining galleries illuminate the complexities of global forest conservation issues, in some instances by means of imagery but more often in practical terms by the artist's selection of a particular material. An important step in saving tropical forests is improved use of existing timbers, particularly the lesser-known species, and woods from certified sources, the demand for which woodworkers in this exhibition are helping to create. Together these works of art embody the positive role that responsible artists, craftspeople, and industrial designers can play in the education of consumers as we seek informed responses to urgent issues of global resource conservation.