Andrew Potocnik: The Art of Turning
Online Exhibition of Australian Woodturning Artist and Sculptor of Slovenian descent
Andrew Potocnik is a prominent Australian artist, renown for exceptionally beautiful wood sculptures. In the words of Kaye Phillips-Webb, he is “a wood turner and sculptor of distinction”, and today “one of Australia’s most talented artists”.
His work is well-recognised in Australia and abroad. Pieces are held in collections of several museums in the U.S.A., including the prestigious Los Angeles County Museum of Art.Works, and are owned by private and corporate collections, such as the Texas State Bank Corporate Collection, U.S.A. He has exhibited extensively in Australia - including the Melbourne Museum, in Munich, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Philadelphia.
Andrew was born in Melbourne, in 1963. His parents emigrated to Australia from the Gorenjska region of Slovenia in the early 1950’s. Andrew’s passion for wood began in the Arts and Crafts classes in secondary school, when inspired by his teacher, he discovered wood as a medium of artistic expression.
He completed his education with the degree of Bachelor of Education in Arts and Crafts, and began teaching creative wood-turning in a secondary college. He soon extended teaching to evening classes in wood-turning for adults, wood-turning demonstrations, seminars and workshops in Australia and overseas.
Winner of numerous prestigious state and national awards, Andrew has participated in Arts and Crafts exhibitions and competitions both as exhibitor and judge. He is a regular contributor of articles and reviews and editorials for books and magazines, and has travelled widely, collecting rare pieces of wood and drawing inspiration from a diversity of cultures.In the course of his professional life, Andrew has achieved, as he says, a satisfying balance between teaching and developing his own work.
His work falls into two main categories: production pieces and exhibition pieces, and is based on two main elements, line and colour. He draws inspiration from a variety of cultures and is intrigued by textures, forms and decorative elements developed by indigenous peoples of the world. Andrew has said of his work, “wood turning is my passion. I continue to drive myself to improve the quality of my work and develop new and innovative designs”.
He believes in “exploiting material to its maximum”. This is how he describes the initial stage of shaping a piece of wood: ”I mount a block of wood onto the lathe and take time to study it closely. I look for natural form, cracks, grain and colour”.
He continues to explore new techniques to achieve a variety of effects. Andrew’s inspiration comes in a large part from the ancient African and Asian carvings. He likes clean finished surfaces which bring out the natural colour and vitality of the wood”. He says that his work tends to be calculated, balanced, with smooth flowing curves. However, he also likes to experiment. Many of his pieces are textured, elevated on legs or mounted on a platform. He works with wood that he salvages, buys or is given. He often makes use of other materials, such as metal, precious stones and interesting objects such as “bike spokes”. Among his tools he uses industrial blades, the mini grinder for burl bowls and texturing.
Andrew has expressed best what motivates and moves him as wood-turner and sculptor: “celebrating wood as a living material that grows around us, as a material that can give expression to ideas conjured in our minds, as a material that says something about our culture and world.”
Andrew’s sculptures and wooden vessels are beautiful, displaying elegance of shape, colour and patterns, glowing with vitality and warmth. He has the gift of revealing and highlighting the natural beauty of the wood, so that his vessels glow with colour and draw the eye with natural intricate patterns.
His sculptures are breathtaking, innovative in combining and integrating a variety of woods and other materials, displaying the artist’s love and understanding of the material he is shaping and a supreme artistic vision which creates and shapes, formulating an aesthetic sphere.
More information on Andrew Potocnik and his Art of Turning at his homepage.