Thursday Salute to Originals: Waves of Wood

“Seaward ho! Hang the treasure! It’s the glory of the sea that has turned my head.” — Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island

In Spring of 2019, a room of the Center for Maine Contemporary Art was flooded by a massive wooden whirlpool. Local sculpting duo Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen crafted an immersive exhibit where patrons walk through an ocean of swirling wood, complete with a petrified, 10-foot wave.

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The installment titled Hubris Atë Nemesis is the first wooden sculpture the artists created together. The waves are inspired by tumultuous transitions in themes of Greek tragedy, Hubris (arrogance) to Atë (madness) to Nemesis (retribution).

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The form of the installment captures fluid motion in solid pieces. Small, wooden boards create curved lines that progressively swirl and twist. Together, the boards form a larger sense of motion, pushing in the direction of a massive wave that arches over one of the entrances to the exhibit.

Dimensions of lighting, shadows, color, and texture add depth to the sea, and as the boardwalks disappear into a wall, you can almost imagine their path going on forever into some blue horizon.

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This Thursday, we’re saluting Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen and their wooden ocean. From themes of uncertainty and transition to masterful illustrations of motion, Hubris Atë Nemesis is an emotional and captivating installment.

If you weren’t in Maine this spring to see their work in person, check out the 3D tour!

Sources: Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen, This is Colossal, Center for Maine Contemporary Art