William Rhodes

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I began my creative journey at the Baltimore School for the Arts. I then earned a BA in Furniture Building and Design from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and a MFA from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. My creative works are in the collections of various galleries and museums and featured in several major publications. I am a woodworker by trade, an artist by choice. I strive to blend fine craft, sculpture and design with meaning and function.

My art has been strongly influenced by my travels, particularly to Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. This allows the work to explore themes of hidden knowledge, iconographic imagery and form, and variation in meaning depending on the cultural context. Explorations into the contrast between these traditional cultures and our modern one have also added depth to the narrative quality to my work. I am interested in exploring harmony with nature, longevity and Feng Shui.

I dedicate part of my time to educating children through the “Dare to Dream Program” at the Bayview Opera House. My teaching allows him to give back to the community and participate in artistic synergy. I am also the co-founder of a Black art collective in San Francisco. The 3.9 Art Collective was formed in 2011 in response to the declining Black population in San Francisco.

williamrhodesart.com

Artist Statement

My work explores themes of hidden knowledge, iconographic imagery and forms and how they can change meaning in a given cultural context. Explorations into the contrast between these traditional cultures and our modern one have also added depth to the narrative quality to my work. I am a woodworker by trade, an artist by choice. I strive to blend fine craft, sculpture and design with meaning and function. My travels to Africa, Asia, and Central and South America have strongly influenced my work. The people, art and cultures of these societies have inspired me to consider non-traditional approaches to art and sculpture. In every work I choose to start with reclaimed wood as my structural material. I enjoy the process of carving wood into a variety of shapes and sizes. The process of carving drawers and hidden compartments into the wood allows me to incorporate my need for functionality. Each piece can stand on its own as a functional object yet it is art. Mirrors have always been important to my work. I realized how mirrors can draw the viewer directly into the work. Every individual reflection adds to the story of the work. As a child I often asked myself the question of how early Humans saw their reflection? I believed Water gave humans the ability to see themselves. I often think of how water moves and creates circular shapes when I design my sculptures. This organic fluidity is always a part of my wood carving process.

Exhibited Work

Revolt

2015
carved wood, glass, mirror, paint and gold leaf
93”x43”x4”

About this Article

This article was originally created as part of SOMArts Cultural Center's Making a Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Area Spaces. To learn how to add or edit content please visit the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism's online History Collection Lab.

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