Hand-crafted wood vessels created by Matt Moulthrop, a nationally recognized wood turner based out of Marietta, Georgia, will be featured at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Art Museum in an exhibit titled “40 under 40: Craft Futures” July 20, 2012, through February 3, 2013.
This exhibition, showcasing the talents of only 40 artists, focuses on work created by artists born since 1972, the year in which the Renwick Gallery was established as the contemporary American craft and decorative arts branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. These forty artists have been selected by Nicholas R. Bell, curator at the museum, because they are the new face of American craft, representing not only evolving notions of craft within traditional media, but also because these artists are creating new avenues of handmade and unique art in contemporary American culture.
Matt, born in Atlanta in 1977 into a multi-generational wood turning family, epitomizes the attributes sought by Mr. Bell and the Renwick. Matt is the third member of the Moulthrop family to take up wood turning as a profession, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Ed, a pioneer in both modern American craft and wood turning, and his father, Philip, a leader in the field of wood turning. Matt has not simply followed the tradition of his father and grandfather, but has contributed to the field of wood turning and American craft with talent for choosing brilliant color patterns and unique trees and his expertise in the more technical aspects of the trade, like the creation of new finishes and novel concepts of production of pieces.
“It’s such an honor to be included in such a select group of hugely talented artists. This honor is especially meaningful because my dad and my grandfather both have worked at the Renwick. I wish my grandfather was here to see it,” shares Matt.
Matt’s grandfather, Ed Moulthrop, not only handed down a love of art, but a love of learning and academics. Ed, an architect by training, with masters in fine arts from Princeton University, initially taught physics at The Georgia Institute of Technology. He went on to develop a successful architecture practice, but wood turning and art were never far from his mind, and he eventually gave up his practice to pursue professional wood turning. Philip, a biologist-turned-attorney, also began to wood turn professionally nearly 30 years ago.
And Matt, surrounded by art, design, and academics, wood turns professionally, despite the fact that he has a finance degree and a master’s degree in business. It is truly a tradition and legacy begun by Ed, who passed away in 2003, carried on by Philip and now passed onto to Matt. Moulthrop vessels, made almost exclusively of reclaimed, diseased and blighted wood native to the southeastern United States, can be seen in leading galleries all over the country, and in more than 50 museums worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, as well as places like the American Embassy in Camaroon.
Matt lives with his wife, Amanda, and daughter, Reed, in East Cobb. For more information about Matt or to view his work, visit www.moulthropstudios.com. For more information on the “40 under 40: Craft Futures” exhibition at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, including the exhibition press release, fact sheet and featured artists, visit www.americanart.si.edu/pr/kits/#40.
(Reprinted from the June/July 2012 issue of EAST COBBER.)