Whenever I think of wood sculpture, I think of those weird totem pole-like wooden creatures that are occasionally sold off of highways and at weird truck stops. Usually they are like bears hugging a tree or some cartoon person with an idiomatic expression engraved at his feet: it’s silly stuff. Paul Cherwick is a wood sculptor creating pretty silly stuff; however, his silly wood sculptures are actually good–the subject matter is what can be a little silly, though.
Cherwick is one of the local China Art Objects artists who fashion things out of dry, light brown–flesh toned, if you will–wood. He’s known for fashioning them to look like semi-nude people who may or may not be drunk or under some drug, which explains their lack of clothes, strange headdresses, and over all glossed over look. What’s remarkable about these sculptures is how he shaves them down to look like people and, like native american art, he refrains from painting the color of the wood (the “flesh tones”), opting to let that inform who his subject is. Instead, he paints their accessories–their hats, beer cans, towels, Big Gulps, etc.
They can be seen as takes on these older woodcraft forms and also jabs at Americana ways (hence, titles for pieces like Double Gulp and Guy With Second Face I Saw On That’s Incredible). Aside from these characters, he’s also created some interesting dissimilar pieces like Trees and Shits and Giggles seen below, respectively. It’s remarkable what he can do with wood and we’re stoked to see what else he can do. Maybe he’ll craft a person watching reality television? Time will tell!