The Exit Gallery is dedicating its first exhibition of the fall semester to woodworking. Currently, it features the work of artist and curator Sam Gathje, a graduate student of MSU. His exhibit entitled, “Watch One, Do One, Teach One,” offers a look at the simplistic nature of life. Gathje says the exhibit is “a passage into a handmade life filled with objects of use, function and beauty.” From wooden spoons to ale bowls, these everyday items come with a backstory. In Gathje’s case, his introduction to woodworking came from his father with whom he spent his childhood summers building and crafting furniture.
The reception was held Sept. 13, and Gathje talked with viewers about the seemingly effortless look of his art which, nonetheless, he created through application and much labor. The crowd walked around, plates of food in hand, as they looked at each piece. On hand were woodwork pieces Gathje had produced with longevity in mind and which also allude to the natural beauty of life.
To give his art a little character and design, Gathje uses milk paint for his bowls, which is non-toxic and food-safe. It is generally odorless when dry and comes in rich, natural earth pigments to give his creation earthly tones. Gathje seals his work with walnut oil and is careful in making his creations hold up to the abuse of daily use. The expectations of his art come from whether or not they can live up to their utility and functionality as well.
Gathje’s curated show features the work of other artists along with his own, which all follow a similar path and are of the same style. “This show is an archive of deep connections spanning distance and time, a reflection of myself and the network of passionate artisans I have lived with, eaten with and learned from,” Gathje said. Though an enthusiast of all kinds of art, Gathje says his heart lies in woodworking. This exhibition will run until Sept. 21.
The Exit Gallery will feature six more exhibitions this semester, all looking at diverse forms of art and ideas that offer an insight into the complexities of human crafts. According to the Office of Student Engagement, the gallery offers a closer look at “contemporary art and ideas to educate and challenge MSU students and the community through exhibitions, lectures and workshops in the visual arts.” The upcoming exhibitions scheduled for the fall semester include creators ranging from MSU undergraduate and graduate students to visiting artists.