Recently, I was looking for a very organic wooden bowl for a client’s coffee table on the screened in porch. I came across an amazing artist that made me forget all about wooden bowls. I saw a couple of his sofa-style root carvings and fell in love. I contacted the R20th Century Gallery in New York which represents him. It turns out that they are having a show of his work right now.
The extraordinary artist is Hugo França from Brazil, and his new exhibit is a series of carved Casulos, or “cocoons,” from Pequi and Imbuia coarse woody debris and roots that he scavenges from the felled trees of the Brazilian forest.
Hugo França’s sculptures showcase his deep connection with the organic, fluid shapes of the tree. This admiration undoubtedly stems from the fifteen years he spent in the jungles of northeastern Brazil, where he learned woodworking techniques from the indigenous people of Bahia.
“For me, it is an exercise of directing my eye,” França says, “trying to recognize and work with the forms already outlined there, and finding a functionality in those forms.”
His work reveals a powerful appreciation for the cycles of nature, by uniting the natural elements of the tree with his creative process, and presenting it back into the human environment. Take a look at this video of the progression from tree to organic sculpture.
França’s pieces encompass the observer, forcing us to experience the aliveness and natural energy of Brazil’s exquisite natural resource. França brings the viewer inside these intriguing massive “cocoons” so we may experience directly the textures and natural designs of the tree, to “create an organic space of retreat and contemplation.”
“The temperature is different, the sounds are different, the smell and texture are unique,” says França. “This direct contact generates empathy and encourages a bonding experience between man and nature.”
If you are in New York, visit his exhibition where it will be featured from October 5th – November 5th. Until then, I will curb my craving with these pictures of his striking furniture. I can just imagine the gorgeous natural colors and contours of the wood bringing warmth and texture into a scenic lakeside cabin.
And more good news about Franca, he still makes very large (36″ across) and wonderful wooden bowls.