James Mellick: Allegory in Wood

August 31 - October 28, 2012

James Mellick's exquisitely carved, narrative wood sculpture is full of his personal iconography and symbolism.

"My carved and assembled dogs are about more than the dog or a particular breed.  This is just part of the layered content.  They are allegorical or poetic expressions of how I see world events and human behavior.  As “man’s best friend” the dog is the “totem” animal of humankind.  Layered in the carved constructions and the complexity of engineering, design and craftsmanship, are symbols that I intend to convey meaning.  The narrative animal sculptures are parables, like illustrations before the story is written.

Wood has been my material of choice over many years.  Every time I try to escape it’s hold, and I am drawn back to it’s organic warmth and spirit.  With the sacrifice of the tree that gives up the material, it’s spirit lives on in the wood sculpture that continues to breath, expand, contract and age gracefully.  I believe that the craft of the process is a bridge to holding the viewer’s attention to more effectively communicate the idea.  The long process of designing, laminating, carving and finishing the wood means that I have to see the idea or statement worth the time and significant.  I have to work with a certain sense of conviction."  

- James Mellick

James Mellick earned his Master of Fine Arts degree from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (1973) where he received the Graduate Award For Excellence in Art and Design, the first of many awards to come.  Faculty positions include Colby Sawyer College, NH, 1973-78; Houghton College, NY, 1978-81, Calvin College, MI, 1989-91 and Cedarville University, 2008 to present. He has also taught workshops at Penland School of Crafts, Southern Illinois University and several universities in the Ohio valley region.  Known as a “Master Ohio Craftsman”, he has over 150 exhibitions to his credit including over 30 solo exhibits, including several regional museums and art centers.  He has won many regional and national awards and his work is in numerous national and international private collections and academic and public collections, including the Ohio Craft Museum, Columbus, OH; Morris Museum, Augusta GA; Evansville Museum, Evansville, IN and the Swope Museum, Terre Haute, IN.  Publications include, Craft Arts International, American Craft, Woodwork, Woodshop News and three sculpture textbooks.  He has served as juror and curator for regional and national art exhibitions.  Mellick works and lives with his family, three dogs, two llamas, two cats and various wild varmints at Heartwood Studios and Farm, the homestead he built northwest of Columbus, Ohio.

Top Left:  Blown Away
Right: Sprout 3