Chochin by Morgan Robinson is a white contemporary abstract sculpture design made wenge and stacked laminated baltic birch and measures 18 x 28 and is priced at $4,800.
An artist from Stillwater, Oklahoma working primarily with wood and metal. I received my BFA in sculpture from the University of Central Oklahoma where I had the freedom to experiment with furniture as art.
After finishing my bachelor’s degree, I went and worked as a custom cabinet maker for 5 years. The cabinetry helped refine wood working skills and techniques. I then took advantage of an opportunity to further my skills traveling to Japan and learning traditional methods of wood working used for centuries. Upon returning back to my home town here in Stillwater, I have set up my woodworking studio and am focusing on merging eastern philosophies of minimalism and sculptural form into a functional beautiful artistic statement to add to the quality of our daily lives.
2009 Project Gallery, Stillwater, OK
2009 Town & Gown Theater, Stillwater, OK
2008 café & gallery Sora, Nara, Japan
2004 Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition "Momentum”, Oklahoma City, OK
2003 Joseph's Gallery, Stillwater, OK
2002 leitmotif, Oklahoma City, OK
2002 Vertigo, Stillwater, OK
What started as a childhood fascination with shapes and sizes has turned into an artistic endeavor for one Stillwater man who has discovered a unique way to use wine, wood, fire and glue to bring his sculptures and furniture creations to life.
Morgan Robinson says he was always intrigued with the reflections he saw in the school bus windows as a child. “I wasn’t as interested in what was outside the window as I was in the images the sunlight was creating on the window,” Robinson said.
That interest never waned. Indeed, it grew into a passion that would lead Robinson to Mexico and Japan seeking new ways to turn the images in his mind into the creations he would eventually show in art galleries in other countries and at home.
Studio Artist Beginnings
As a college student at the University of Central Oklahoma, Robinson studied jewelry making. He learned to work with metal designing and making small items such as pendants. He soon moved from jewelry to metal castings and decided to pursue metal as a medium for his art. Eager to discover new tools and techniques, he took a job at a foundry in Ponca City.
“I was still trying to understand metal,” Robinson said. “I went to Mexico and worked in a foundry there when I was 21. I learned to use tools I would have never been exposed to here.” Soon he was casting tables and larger sculptures.
While he was satisfied with his transition from creating small-scale jewelry to medium-scale art such as sculptures, Robinson found he was continually intrigued with the idea of working with larger forms. Supporting himself as a cabinet maker provided an opportunity to work with wood on a daily basis. He also honed his talent with courses in architecture at Oklahoma State University.
Bringing it Home
Like a painter standing before a blank canvas, Robinson began envisioning ways to incorporate his art into a home remodeling project. As he revamped cabinets, walls and floors, Robinson said he discovered the versatility of plywood. Soon he was stacking and shaping layers of plywood into a sculpted bar that winds around the kitchen area with gentle curves and looks as if it might have been carved from a majestic tree growing seamlessly out of the floor.
Today Robinson says plywood is his medium of choice. His studio collection includes coffee tables, occasional tables and decorative spheres. His home is filled with tables created from plywood and metal.
“I never know how a piece will turn out when I start,” he said of his plywood projects. He begins by sketching a design with combinations of unusual shapes. Then, cut plywood pieces are layered and glued. At that point, the piece takes on its own unique characteristics, Robinson said.
“The shape really comes alive with the layers and it’s a mystery how it all comes together. “It’s pretty magical.”
A Cultural Exchange
While plywood is a favorite of the artist, he also works with the wood as oak, hickory, and walnut. But it is soft wood such as cedar and maple that Robinson transforms into unique art using a technique he learned from a Japanese artist.
In what Robinson describes as a “house-swapping,” he spent a year living in Japan, while a Japanese student took up residence in his Stillwater home. There, Robinson said he worked at a furniture company, and again was introduced to tools he had never seen before.
He also learned the technique he calls “wine and burn.” The process involves rubbing light woods with red wine then directing a flame of fire letting it lick at the wood and change its colors.
“It gives the wood sophistication with the new range of colors,” he said. “I had never heard of the process before and haven’t found anyone who uses it in the states.”
Robinson’s work was displayed in a month long show in Japan and he returned to Oklahoma in February with a new appreciation of Japanese influence in art.
Today, Robinson’s diverse training and experiences have come full circle. He incorporates both metal and wood into sculptures and furniture he creates in his Stillwater studio. The techniques he discovered and practiced in other countries undoubtedly flavor his work.