Caril Chasens

I carve sculpture in wood, often representing human or animal figures within environment abstracted in the nature of wood. The power of wood as a medium has been undervalued. I believe passionately in its ability to reflect the unpredictable, the changing, and the complex. I am committed to exploring its potential.

Education

I believe that there is a place for people like me. One is not precisely self-educated; one chooses one's own course, interacting with a world of information. This is usually slower than an academic path, but I have reached an age where I hope this no longer counts against me. As a creative person, I find the greatest benefit is the fact that at every point in the process, one faces the need for decision-making, initiative, and invention.

Awards and Exhibitions

When you read this list, please keep in mind that I live up a bush road in BC around 56░ north, struggling with the complications of remote location and poverty to communicate what I do. I believe that my professional activity is represented more in what I have done than in where I have been seen.

2006 Participation in a group show Lumber, in The Cube Gallery, Ottawa, ON, focusing onTree as Medium

2000 - 2005 During these years, a particularly intense burden of poverty moved me to focus on showing my work at various public places around Hazelton, such as the public library and the community college, rather than mounting shows. This remote area has an amazing spectrum of intelligent and creative people. People here understand me almost too easily, so that I am a bit spoiled. However, I am very strongly motivated, now, to reach out to a larger world with all possible energy.

1999 New Wood Sculpture, Caril Chasens, Hazelton Museum Gallery

1998 Honorarium from Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation, which has made possible my website at http://users.datarealm.com/carilc , with original sculpture, ideas, and tutorials directed toward artists interested in wood as a medium for sculpture.

1997 Animals in Mind, solo exhibition of sculpture in wood, at Hazelton Library Gallery

1996 Sculpture, Caril Chasens, solo exhibition at Plaskett Gallery, New Westminster B.C

1995 Grant from Project Assistance for Visual Artists, B.C. Cultural Services Branch. Thanks to this award, I produced Moose at the Garden Fence, approximately 4 ft. x 4, fully sculptural in 3" thickness. The piece has been displayed at Ksan Museum, Hazelton B.C. and at Plaskett Gallery, New Westminster B.C., and is now on long-term display at the Hazelton Library.

1995 A Place of Animals, solo exhibition at Ksan Museum, Hazelton B.C.

1994 Sculpture by Caril Chasens, solo exhibition at Mountain Eagle Gallery, Smithers B.C.

1993 Coming into Form, solo exhibition at Northwest National Exhibition Centre, Hazelton B.C.

Process

1966 - 1977 I moved to British Columbia in 1966. After several years, I settled into a back-to-the-land lifestyle on a small acreage bounded by forest and creek. The presence, sound, and fragrance of the land crept into my perceptions. Log building, carpentry, and utilitarian woodcarving would eventually allow sculpture in wood to arise as a natural development. I still live on the land. I feel particularly fortunate when I catch glimpses of the animals, who experience the land in their own ways. The expansion of the road, the rapid loss of forest to logging, color my concern.

1978 -1990 Began painting and drawing, at first casually, soon with dedication and intensity. My natural inclination toward self-directed education influenced - and continues to influence - my development in the visual arts. One disadvantage is that learning is likely to be slower. The great advantage is that self-directed learning is excellent training for creative work. Drawing and painting: my subject matter was deeply personal, a collection of images that appeared on a shore of the deep strange. My own internal body sense supplied a model for drawing - and that for some unlikely images. This mode continues to influence my style. I imagine in a kinetic as well as a visual sense. Work showed an interest in thingness more than in light, pointing to sculpture.

1991 - 1993 Coming from painting and drawing, I began wood sculpture. My first piece was a bear; it felt incomplete to me, sitting on the table. I finished the sculpture by carving an environment for her. This began what I later came to understand as a particular mode of abstraction in landscape, abstraction in the nature of wood grain, and it led to the deep combination of represented animals with abstracted environment. I wrote: In regard to portraying animals, and the old question of what is intrinsic to the subject and what is projected by the artist, I choose not to define, but continually and fundamentally to wonder.

1994 - 1999 Direction toward sculptural relief carving, which paradoxically enters the observer's space and creates its own space. Intensely aware of medium, and the unique possibilities of abstraction in the nature of wood. Honing the explanation.

2000 - 2005 Driven by a sense that wood is a medium whose time has come. Have begun to talk about a green new art. Increasingly, the critters in my work are human. Very interested in expanding the potential of abstraction in the nature of wood. I was focusing on using the internet (despite limited internet access during these years) to break the limits of my remote location. I carve, haul water in buckets from the creek, and fire up a generator when I need to use a computer. As I continue to produce, practicing the art of the possible, I feel increasingly that digital media are not the whole answer, to communicate a medium as physical as wood. So, I am determined to claim my place in the world.

2006 Idea-driven artů I am not particularly interested in any simple illustration. The idea is the music, the sculpture is the dance.


Back to Sculpture in Wood, Caril Chasens