Seattle artist Dan Webb juxtaposes highly crafted and exquisite wood-working with a split, rough-hewn source. This box seems as if it would excite, yet soon become frustration...a birthday gift you could never open. From Seattle Magazine: Born to schoolteacher parents, Webb spent most of his youth in Anchorage. He landed in Seattle in 1987 and attended Cornish College of the Arts, where he earned a B.F.A. in 1991 and met other Seattle artists he counts as inspiring, including sculptor Ed Wicklander and ceramist Jeffry Mitchell. Webb didn’t begin carving until his last year at Cornish, but even his early work reveals his tremendous skill in the medium—a wooden trophy cup that reads “Great Effort” (a double entendre); a ladder crafted of flimsy balsawood. His sense of humor is palpable in much of the work, though it’s also tinged with darkness and the feeling that death is lurking just around the corner. Critic Brangien Davis writes: "In 2004, when his brother was diagnosed with a brain tumor, Webb turned to carving as almost a form of meditation. “All I wanted to do was carve,” he recalls. He needed the slowness, the concentration required, talking to himself alone in the shop. “By the time he died, I had made a bunch of work,” Webb says. “That’s when I finally felt like I knew what I was doing.” Perhaps the most arresting work from this period is called “Little Cuts.” The piece is displayed as a series of photographs, a sort of time-lapse documentation of a bust being carved from wood. The block becomes a recognizable head, and then, with more cuts, the face and hair and features fall away to reveal a skull. With even more cuts, the skull shrinks to a sliver. The sawdust remains are displayed in a plexiglass box, like an urn." "Webb has work in the permanent collection of the Seattle Art Museum, and in May, he was shortlisted for The Stranger’s Genius Award (winners to be announced September 22). But despite this and many other confirmations of his status as an artist, he says, “I have the most traditional job of anyone I know.” Married to an organic farmer, with whom he has two kids, Webb gets up, goes to the studio and puts in a regular work day every day of the week. “The only thing I know how to do is make things that are cool,” he explains. “It’s my job. It’s a business. You have to be pragmatic.” He also knows he’s working under a major deadline, one that’s reflected in his art. “All my figurative work is about mortality,” he says. “It’s about getting your shit together, because there’s a deadline. That’s everybody’s primary job.” "That said, Webb has no intention of imposing a lesson with his work. “There’s something miraculous about carving. I don’t want it to be like homework,” he says. “You can have a discussion about it afterward, but when you first see it, I want my work to melt your face.”


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