P.S. Art Gallery

A public celebration of the creative spirit.

Founded in 2013, P.S. Art is the official gallery of Pomfret School. Located at Silver Circle Art Center in nearby Putnam, CT, the venue is home to a rotating exhibit of student, faculty, and guest artwork and performances. In addition to the real-world value of creating and curating an exhibit, many of the student pieces are available for purchase, and the proceeds benefit the operation of P.S. Art.


Wood, Words, & MEaning

September 1 — October 31

For this exhibit, Chris Atwood spent a year carving 34 wooden panels, representing 2,367 characters and punctuation marks. The centerpiece of the exhibit is 12 panels recounting the entire Gettysburg Address. All twelve panels were milled from 4/4" or 5/4" genuine mahogany from South and Central America. Chris then routed 1 1/2" raised panel borders on all 12 boards in anticipation of 2" deep hard maple boards for building the frames. He secured a supply of 2' x 8' x 1/32" veneer sheets, which he cut to size to fit each raised panel. Once initial contact was complete, Chris slipped each panel into his vacuum press for two hours of compression. When the panel was ready, Chris pulled it from the press and sanded the veneer with 400 grit sandpaper, before moving it finally to his carving desk.

About the Artist

Christopher Atwood was a member of the Pomfret School faculty from 1980 until retirement in August of 2015. His major roles at Pomfret included Athletic Trainer, Athletic Director, Master Calendar Coordinator, three four-year rotations as Form Dean, Chairman of the Digital Arts Department, and Director of Academic Technology. Over the years he taught Human Anatomy, 3D Digital Modeling and Animation, Film Production, EcoSystem Design, and Residential Architecture. He also served as Dorm Parent, Faculty Advisor, and membership on a number of committees. His present community service involves photographing live productions at The Bradley Playhouse for cast, crew, families, and archives. He preserves thousands of photos on a public website that currently spans 29 productions since 2011.

Artist Statement

“WHAT WE KEEP WE LOSE AND WHAT WE GIVE WE HAVE.” - AUTHOR UNCONFIRMED

In the late 1980s, I had the pleasure of watching a friend carve text for a commissioned piece of furniture. Within the hour I knew that carving would fulfill my desire to develop specific woodworking skills. By 2011, I carved eighty-two panels for many friends at their request and around Pomfret’s campus.

The pleasure I get from letter carving is captured in the title panel for this exhibit: "Wood, Words, & MEANING”: Wood is the medium, Words are the expression, and MEANING opens infinite possibilities for deeper understanding and how we make sense of the world all around us.

Between 2011 and 2015, I set my chisels aside in order to focus more upon my responsibilities at Pomfret School. In March of 2015, I decided that early retirement would offer the time I needed to advance my carving techniques and skills, to resume my personal studies, to be available to help my sister’s care of our 92 year old mother, and more time to spend with Kathe who retired a year before me. Together, she and I offered 72 years of service to Pomfret School.

Since August of 2015, my efforts have focused on panel presentation, typography, veneering, and a variety of techniques to frame a panel. Veneering has had the greatest impact on my work as it creates a contrast between the veneer color and the substrate such as African Mahogany. I have researched the application of veneer over a substrate for carving purposes, and to date, I have not found any examples of this technique. Hopefully, you are looking at original examples of a new means of producing hand carved lettered panels.

It is very tempting to carve contemporary writings, lyrics, movie scripts, and so much more from resources across the world. However, I abide by Intellectual Property Rights law and thereby choose to carve quotations that have been published in the United States prior to January 1, 1923.

In the spring of 2016, Jean-Paul Jacquet asked me if I would consider offering this exhibit. I accepted within a few minutes. Fortunately, I immediately understood that such an undertaking would require a yearlong commitment. I am offering 12 panels for the Gettysburg Address with 1239 characters and punctuation, and 1128 characters and punctuation across 23 additional panels for display. I am deeply grateful to JP and Pomfret for this opportunity to share my current work.




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