10:50 AM

Artist, Scientist Seri Robinson Showcases Spalted Wood Works at UHD’s O’Kane Gallery

'Intersections' on View Feb. 6 – April 2


By Mike Emery

On the exterior, trees and even pieces of dead wood can resemble natural, majestic works of art. Internally, there also exists intricate layers, colors and patterns that rival any man made sculpture or painting.

Spalted wood is an example of nature’s creativity. Spalting occurs when fungi affects wood’s pigmentation, creating patterns and colors. Artist/scientist Dr. Seri Robinson works with this material producing woodturned art that is both colorful and compelling.

Houstonians soon will experience Robinson’s creative vision when the artist debuts the exhibition “Intersections” in the University of Houston-Downtown’s O’Kane Gallery. The show, containing 19 woodturned works, runs Feb. 6 - April 2. An opening reception with the artist is scheduled for 6 p.m., Feb 6.

Robinson’s background as an associate professor of wood anatomy at Oregon State University and expert woodturner have fueled the creation of the exhibition’s works.

“Intersections, in particular, fascinate me, and spalted woodturning is the perfect medium to explore both internal and external intersections,” Robinson writes in an artist’s statement. “Spalted wood offers endless opportunities to explore and expose intersections both historic, modern, personal, and external.”

The upcoming exhibition marks Robinson’s first UHD exhibition and the first show dedicated to woodturned art within the O’Kane Gallery. According to gallery director and UHD professor of art Mark Cervenka, Robinson fuses functionality with the abstract, creating shapes that are familiar and fascinating.

“It’s certainly an exciting exhibition for our gallery and the community,” Cervenka said. “We look forward to welcoming Robinson to campus and hosting these works.”

Artists and woodworkers alike have long valued spalted wood for its unique colors, particularly blue hues. Robinson’s keen eye and creative sensibilities are effective in crafting works that highlight the natural properties of this wood.

“All of the color found in Robinson’s works are found naturally within the wood,” he said. “Fungi actually create the unique patterns and mosaics that occupy these pieces.”

Robinson previously visited UHD for a lecture hosted by the College of Sciences & Technology. That particular stop at UHD provided Cervenka with an opportunity to meet Robinson and propose an on-campus exhibition.

As Robinson indicated in the aforementioned artist statement, spalted wood art is a perfect “intersection of science and art.” Cervenka certainly agrees and said the timing is right for this exhibition at UHD.

“This exhibition has been scheduled to celebrate the recent formal opening of UHD’s College of Sciences & Technology Building this semester,” Cervenka said. “It’s a perfect complement to what’s happening at the University with regard to the sciences and to the gallery’s commitment to showcasing interdisciplinary artwork.”

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) – the second-largest university in Houston – has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974.

As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates more than 15,000 students; boasts more than 61,000 alumni and offers 45 bachelor’s, nine master’s degree programs and 16 fully online programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service; Sciences & Technology; and University College).

For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks UHD among universities across the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (No. 27 and No. 15 for Veterans) and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.

UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. U.S. News ranked the University among Top Performers on Social Mobility and awarded UHD a No. 1 ranking as the most diverse institution of higher education in the southern region of the U.S. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.