I am pleased to showcase ‘Meditations’, Wycliffe Stutchbury’s first exhibition in Asia. Formerly a furniture maker, he communicates the expressive beauty of timber, its narrative qualities, and its fragile yet robust character. Wood can absorb its environment, to record the elements and events, but also to show beauty in decay. These works exhibit the struggle between an impulse to impose form on nature and nature’s unwillingness to conform. The artist presses his desires on the material with the help of highly engineered tools but is then countered by the forces of nature. The physical world corrupts, erupts, cracks, distorts, and discolours human efforts to suppress, edit or frame.

During the creative process, human error is meditative. The artist says, ‘Although I strive to self-consciously apply my structure to my work through concentration and technical skill, I fail. I make mistakes, my concentration wanders, I change my mind, and I can’t maintain a straight line or a perfect sphere. I find I am being pulled toward an intuitive way of working, rather like how one might approach stacking firewood.’ Whether it be the semi-petrified timbers of a 5000-year-old oak or the ivory of fallen holly, he instinctively assembles and creates delicate patchworks of texture, colour and pattern.

A deep love for the landscape underlies everything the artist makes. He was brought up on the South Downs near Beachy Head and spent his summers on the beaches of Suffolk, so the colours and folds of the land are always foremost in his mind. A recipient of several awards including from the Crafts Council UK and the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers UK, the artist was also shortlisted for the prestigious Loewe Craft Prize in 2018.