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Look at How Wood Can Change and Learn about the Best Examples of Wooden Sculptures

15.10.2021
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Wood is an excellent material for creating real works of art. Since ancient times, wood has been considered one of the best materials for sculpture. Wooden sculpture was very popular in the Ancient East. All this is confirmed by the reports of such ancient historians as Pausanius and Pliny. In Ancient Rome and Greece, wooden images of the gods covered with bronze plates were very common, which contributed to the appearance of bronze statues later. Wooden sculptures have a very rich and interesting history.

Types of Trees for Creating Sculptures

Different types of wood are used to create wooden sculpture. Door sculptures of the gods were made of blackwood, which could be cypress, cedar or oak. Many famous wood sculptors created their masterpieces from maple, boxwood, pear, thuja, linden and myrtle. Juniper, grapevine, frankincense, wild plum, palm, poplar, and other woods were also often used. When choosing the material for the statue, all of the famous wood carvers in history paid attention not only to its strength properties but also to the consideration of the cult.

A wooden sculpture required constant care. Such a piece had to be washed and waxed. The sculptures were also often wiped with essential oils, to give not only an attractive appearance, but also an exquisite fragrance.

Whether exotic or traditional, wood has always appealed to architects. This material has been used for centuries to create raw, mysterious and natural works of art.

Today we have collected 20 of the best wooden sculptures and best wood carvings that are sure to impress you.

Donald Hess Carving Wood Sculpture Collection

Donald Hess Carving Wood Sculpture Collection

Donald Hess’s journey into the world of art began when he was just a child. Donald was 12 years old – he was still one step away from entering adolescence when an incredible flame lit up his imagination. It was a seemingly ordinary day when Donald decided to ask his father an unusual question. Spending time at his family home in Switzerland, Hess asked his father why there was no art in the house. The Hess family’s traditional Swiss home had an impressive history – it was 700 years old. However, the walls in the house were white and blank, which made the young Hess wonder what it would be like if art was part of their lives.

Little did he know that years later he would become one of the most legendary carved wooden art collectors in the world, collecting masterpieces for over 4 decades. Today, his incredible collection of art in the form of wooden sculptures can be seen at the Hess Art Museum or wood carvings gallery.

Sculptures of Aron Demetz

Sculptures of Aron Demetz

The Italian sculptor Aron Demetz is one of the best. In his wooden sculptures, he always explores the human and demonstrates incredible wood art figures. Aron uses the material to emphasize the harmony as well as the conflicts that arise between man and nature. We are particularly intrigued by the contrast between the smoothly wood carved sculpture figures and the roughly crafted surfaces.

Seat by Yon Ju Lee and Brian Brasch

Seat by Yon Ju Lee and Brian Brasch

This Eboarch design collaboration by Jon Joo Lee and Brian Brasch of New York City created an unusual object of art made of wood and 400 simple chairs. The sculpture addresses the question of how we see and perceive the architectural world around us. The chairs represent a fundamental architectural structure. It depicts the transformation of chairs from usable objects into structural and spatial components of an ambiguous structure.

Hsu Tung Han’s Stunning “Pixelated” Wooden Carved Sculptures

Hsu Tung Han’s Stunning “Pixelated” Wooden Carved Sculptures

His work is unparalleled in the world as he combines past and present into a multi-dimensional exhibition.

Moreover, his wooden statues emphasize the thin thread that separates the use of technology for progress and the enslavement of technology. As if the concept of time travels through space and consciousness, looking at Hsu Tang Han’s sculptures made of wood, contemplators are encouraged to introspect the present, past and future of humanity. Of course, Hsu Tang Han’s work requires a unique approach to woodworking to achieve a mind-blowing “pixelation” effect. To achieve this, he always starts with detailed sketches and clay models. He then gives his masterpieces a dynamic movement using only one piece of wood.

His favorite materials are wooden blocks of African waxwood, teak or walnut.

Spaghetti Bench by Pablo Reynoso

Spaghetti Bench by Pablo Reynoso

Pablo Reynoso took as his starting point for his architectural unique wood artwork “Spaghetti Bench” reflections on public and anonymous design. These benches cross cultures, and there is something solid but archaic about these beautiful wood carvings, wouldn’t you agree?

Versailles by the Genius of the Forest Giuseppe Penone

Versailles by the Genius of the Forest Giuseppe Penone

Giuseppe Penone was born in Piedmont, Italy, to a family of farmers. His childhood was spent surrounded by nature and forests. It was through contact with the natural world that he developed his sensitivity and artistic universe. Indeed, trees were to play a key role in the work of one of the wood sculptors we know.

While studying at the Albertina Academy of Turin, Penone met Donald Judd and Robert Morris, pioneers of minimalism in modernist wood sculpture, who had a significant influence on his later work. Moreover, Penone also became one of the leaders of the Arte Povera movement. This art group emerged in Italy in the 1960s and opposed consumerism, refusing to consider a work of art as a mere product. As a result, Penone uses only raw and simple materials such as stone, clay, and wood. The latter he is particularly fond of. Visible bark, the smell of sap: the wood artist transforms humble trees into altars, creating wooden works of art that evoke the senses. Simplicity and purity are at the heart of his work.

Willy Verginer Cool Wood Sculptures

Willy Verginer Cool Wood Sculptures

Willy Verginer’s installations are alienating and bring the viewer into a whole new dimension of magical art. Verginer develops an original and unique visual language that combines painting with the art of sculpture. Beginning with traditional woodwork as practiced in his hometown of Bressaon, he gradually broke away from conventional schemes and began to follow his own style of figurative wood sculpture.

Wolfgang Schiller’s Matchmen

Wolfgang Schiller’s Matchmen

German artist Wolfgang Stiller created his “matchmen” from thick carved wood pieces of lumber that he places standing or lying down in a room. The faces are all different and look as if they just emerged in the wood after burning each match tip.

Dan Webb Sculptures

Dan Webb Sculptures

Dan Webb was born in East Lansing, Michigan and now lives in Seattle, Washington. He creates amazing wood carving sculpture. With detailed texture and form, his work showcases the beauty and depth of wood texture.

Human Sculptures by Bruno Valpot

Human Sculptures by Bruno Valpot

Bruno Valpot creates intriguing human wood art sculpture. The sculptures’ textural imperfections lend a figurative and symbolic spirit to the trees from which they were made. Valpot uses translucent paint to cover his work so that all the unique patterns of the wood remain visible.

One to One by Caroline Slotte

One to One by Caroline Slotte

Carolyn Slott has created the One to One series, which features objects that are meant to look like two things at once, or rather like two materials at the same time. We can perceive it as plastic, paper, metal and wood sculpture. But this is just something that masterfully plays with our perception.

Tools by Jessica Drenk

Tools by Jessica Drenk

Jessica Drenk creates carving wood figures from simple pencils. Between 1,200 and 4,000 of them are used in each sculpture. After the pencils are glued together, the sculptures are sanded with a belt sander and other power tools and then finished by hand.

Sculptures by Mario Dilitz

Sculptures by Mario Dilitz
Mario Dilitz ; Nr.: 173 ; 1/3 ; 2018 ; basswood / red glue ; classic technic ; 200 x 70 x 45 cm ;

Combining sculptural knowledge and technical skills with contemporary wood sculptures challenges, Mario Dilitz manages to create great wood carvings. His creations, most of which are life-size, are made from high-quality laminated wood. After a process of destruction and restoration, the wood takes on a new form of stability.

Volk Ding Zero by Basilitz

Volk Ding Zero by Basilitz

German artist Baselitz shocks and surprises. Born in 1938, Baselitz is known for his scandalous works. Already during his first exhibition, he caused a sensation and was accused of disturbing public order. He has continued this provocative style ever since. In addition to creating the Neo-Expressionist movement, he is also a talented sculptor. His carvings are like his own: contradictory and raw. For example, one contemporary wood sculpture he made with a chainsaw!

Jeff Whitto’s Driftwood Sculptures

Jeff Whitto’s Driftwood Sculptures

Jeff Whitto lives near the coast of Washington state. He has created large wood sculptures of horses, eagles, and giraffes from driftwood that washed ashore from a forest in the Northwest. Jeff makes not only wooden animals sculptures but also all sorts of furniture and has been commissioned for driftwood installations in Alaska and Hawaii.

Twig Vases by Julian Watts

Twig Vases by Julian Watts

Julian Watts of San Francisco creates figures out of wood at the intersection of art, craft, and design, making functional, intuitive objects more offbeat and vulnerable in new ways. Referencing the human body, the natural world, and simple organic forms, he challenges the idea of utility in design by revealing the mysticism of everyday objects.

Jürgen Lingl-Rebetz’s Life-Like Wooden Sculptures

Jürgen Lingl-Rebetz’s Life-Like Wooden Sculptures

Jürgen Lingl-Rebetz was born and raised in Germany, and his passion for art has accompanied him since childhood.

In his biography, Jürgen Lingl-Rebetz says that as a child he painted and colored everything he saw, from landscapes to people and animals. When he finished his apprenticeship with master sculptor Hans-Joachim Seitfudem, his work won first prizes in Munich and Bavaria. However, it was not until 1996 that Jürgen Lingl-Rebetz moved to Switzerland and became an independent artist working with his chainsaw to create incredible, life-like sculptures.

Jürgen Lingl-Rebetz’s works are highly prized in private and public collections for his ingenious work, which further expands the boundaries of three-dimensional chainsaw carving with final strokes of pencil and color.

Chris Isner’s Wood Carving Statues Inspired by Ayahuasca

Chris Isner’s Wood Carving Statues Inspired by Ayahuasca

Chris Isner is an artist who proves that talent flows through the veins, hearts and minds of gifted craftsmen to bring the ancient wisdom of the universe to contemplators.

“If you want to see reality, close your eyes and look,” Isner says.

Surprisingly, Chris Isnar learned the ancient woodworking technique he uses to create his unique sculptures after traveling on ayahuasca to the inner realms of Universal Consciousness.

Abstract Wooden Sculptures by Ben Butler Art

Abstract Wooden Sculptures by Ben Butler Art

Ben Butler is an award-winning artist who creates wood sculptures whose talent brings to life installations that look more like extraterrestrial masterpieces than anything made by the hand of man.

After graduating from the New York School of Visual Arts in 1998, Ben Butler received his Bachelor of Visual Arts degree with honors from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. In 2003, Ben Butler received a Master of Arts in Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.

His work rarely begins with drawings or pre-conceived images. He tends to address the materials directly, playing over time and discovering previously unforeseen possibilities for the system of construction.

Lutz Hornischer’ Sculptures Made Out of Reclaimed Wood

Lutz Hornischer’ Sculptures Made Out of Reclaimed Wood

Lutz Hornischer’s journey into the world of art began as a child. However, like many other children, he was advised to study. Although Lutz Hornischer followed this advice and earned a master’s degree in business and engineering, his passion for art did not fade even after many years of working in high-tech companies.

Reflecting on his true purpose in mid-life. Lutz Hornischer decided it was time to pursue his dream career as an artist. Thus, his inspiration became reclaimed wood.

His detailed wood carving consists of three different series: Nature, Flow, and Energy.

Each of the series is based on different ideational dynamics. While there are many internationally acclaimed wooden sculptures on display in various collections and museums, Litz Heurnischer creates his work with the idea of bringing the beauty and wisdom of the craft of wooden sculpture into the homes of people around the world by carving figures out of wood.
These days, famous wood carvers and artists continue to work with wood. Some contemporary wood artists cut and process the wood so that it takes on a smooth, fabric-like appearance. Others celebrate its uneven shape and incorporate it directly into their work. Although the artists’ approaches are different, we believe there is one thing they do have in common in their modern wood sculpture – each transforms a rigid form into something surprisingly unexpected.

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