Michael Peterson: Evolution | Revolution

April 9 - September 20, 2009

Evolution | Revolution is the first comprehensive look at Michael Peterson's poetic wood sculptures. This exhibition follows the artist's unique trajectory from his early works heavily dictated by the lathe the mechanical tool wood turners typically use to produce symmetrically shaped objects, either for decorative or functional uses to his most current organic abstract forms realized through the mastery of the chainsaw.

An artist with a growing national reputation, Peterson's work is deeply inspired by the unique environment of the Pacific Northwest, specifically Lopez Island where he has lived with his wife, Jean, for the past 15 years. He works primarily outdoors, without even a tarp to shield him in inclement weather. The artist begins with wet chunks of wood which he carves and hollows using a chainsaw. As the pieces dry, they shrink and warp in unpredictable ways, heightening the grain patterns and creating rich textures. His sculptures speak of birds, stones, wave-tossed driftwood and landscapes and quietly emanate a deep sense of spirituality and place.

Evolution | Revolution features over 30 of Peterson's wood sculptures spanning two decades of artistic development. It is one of a series of exhibitions organized by Bellevue Arts Museum which highlight the richness and vibrancy of Pacific Northwest craft artists' work.

Bellevue Arts Museum is excited to announce that Michael Peterson: Evolution | Revolution will begin its national tour schedule. It is one of four exhibitions originated by BAM that have traveled to other museum venues around the country, introducing contemporary craft artists to new audiences and sparking new conversations on the the blurring boundaries between art, craft and design. Michael Peterson: Evolution | Revolution is also one in a series of exhibitions and publications presented by BAM that highlights the richness and vibrancy of regional craft artists.


San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design, San Francisco, CA
October 16, 2009 - January 3, 2010

Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston, TX
March 26 - July 2, 2010

Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL
July 23 - October 3, 2010

Wood Turning Center, Philadelphia, PA
November 5, 2010 - February 2011

Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR
March 25 - July 3, 2011

Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI
August 6 - November 13, 2011

Michael Peterson, Coastal Stack VMichael Peterson
Coastal Stack V, 2008
46 x 34 x 30 in.
Madrone burl
Carved, sandblasted, bleached, pigmented
Collection of the Artist

Michael Peterson, TeardropMichael Peterson
"Teardrop" Landscape series, 1987
7 x 10 in. diameter
Maple burl
Lathe turned
Collection of Jane and Arthur Mason
Photos: Rex Rystedt

Organized by Bellevue Arts Museum, and co-curated by Michael Monroe, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Stefano Catalani, Curator. This exhibition has been made possible by Windgate Charitable Foundation with additional support by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the City of Bellevue.