Ribbed Birch Plywood, Sumac Plate

Accession Number

Ribbed Birch Plywood, Sumac Plate

Gianfranco Angelino

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
birch plywood, sumac branch, ebony pins

3 x 14 5/16 x 14 1/2 in. (7.62 x 36.2 x 36.83 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Robert M. and Lillian Montalto Bohlen

Label copy
Gianfranco Angelino
Born 1938, Naples, Italy
Died 2010, Milan, Italy
Ribbed Birch Plywood, Sumac Plate
Birch plywood, sumac branch, ebony pins
Gift of Robert M. and Lillian Montalto Bohlen, 2002/2.120
Angelino was a renowned professor of engineering in Milan, Italy, who approached woodturning through his interests in both structure and green technology. Committed to drawing attention to wood as a renewable resource, Angelino adopted new materials and new ways of working with overlooked woods, including shrubs, knotted woods, and even small roots and branches.
Angelino’s work often alludes to natural structures, such as the elementary dwellings that inspired Ribbed Birch Plywood, Sumac Plate. Angelino first molded small, irregular pieces of plywood to form the plate’s gentle curves, then pinned these pieces to the underlying ribbed structure. He then turned the piece on the lathe to smooth the plate’s surfaces.
(Out of the Ordinary, 2010)
Gianfranco Angelino is a professor of engineering in Milan, who combines his professional interest with botany and woodturning to explore the relationship between a material’s properties and its structure. Environmental concerns have led Angelino to adopt new materials and new ways of working with overlooked woods. He was one of the first artists in the field to use shrubs, small roots and branches, and knotted woods in his art and has developed innovative techniques for working these difficult materials.
For objects such as this plate, the artist fabricates plywoods from small, irregular pieces of wood and pins them to a ribbed structure. Angelino notes that his method of constructing vessels has the advantage of making the objects dimensions independent of the material size. The result is a form that reveals its internal organization. Angelino uses this form to allude to other natural structures: “Nature is my preferred reference: a whale skeleton, the ribbing in the wing of a dragonfly or the geometric pattern of a turtle’s shell. With each of these there is an intrinsic beauty and truth.”
from the exhibition Nature Transformed: Wood Art from the Bohlen Collection, June 12 – October 3, 2004

Physical Description
layered wood plate with visible supports

Primary Object Classification
Wood and Woodcarving

Primary Object Type

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

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bowls (vessels)
plates (timepiece components)
wood (plant material)

& Author Notes

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