The words "recycled wood" probably aren't the most scintillating ones. But from office furniture to geodesic shelters, recycled wood can take on many guises, and artists like James McNabb of Pennsylvania have the right idea, transforming humble woods into urbane cityscapes of the imagination -- and all entirely made out of scrap pieces of wood.
Created for his MFA thesis, McNabb's "City" series is comprised of discarded woods that are shaped with various tools and cobbled together to form allegorical forms. On This is Colossal, the artist likens it to "sketching with a bandsaw," and though he didn't intend to create skylines at first, he started out intuitively crafting pieces into familiar objects, one day assembling the 250 or so he made that day into something that resembled an architectural model, albeit a fantastical one.
A patterned piece measuring almost five feet in diameter, "Wheel" is the most striking work, made out of cherry, red oak, white oak, ash, maple. According to the artist, it is
Inspired by wooden wagon wheels, [and] references the pilgrimage many make from the countryside to the city, in search of fortune and fame.
"Sphere" offers some metaphorical lessons on the impact of humans on our fragile planet:
The epitome of the urban sprawl, this piece depicts a planet consumed by the city. A lathe turned wood sphere, covered in abstracted urban architectural forms.
"Table" is a pseudo-furniture form, one bristling with handcrafted forms, yet is not truly usable, which is all right, considering that this table might be a little uncomfortable to sit at.
No two pieces are alike in all of McNabb's works, inviting the viewer to come in close to examine the details -- a skillful way to adapt discarded materials into works of art that capture our undivided attention.
See more images of recycled wood coming alive and "making of" descriptions on James McNabb's website.