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BIO

Hank Waddell creates art and sculptural furniture primarily from fallen trees. As a boy, he developed a deep connection with nature wandering the pine forests of East Texas. He climbed the trees, built forts from downed limbs, and bathed in the serenity of the old pines. Here, he learned to listen to trees and to take in their beauty, and it was here that he began his lifelong passion for crafting wood.

 

For a time, Waddell worked on construction crews on land that had been cleared of the pine forests he loved. He witnessed the chainsawed trees as he passed through jobsites, and he felt the pang of loss—for the trees and for his own self. He knew the trees still had more to say, and he was compelled to salvage those fragments—of their trunks, branches, roots—that spoke most consequentially to him. After years of collecting these remnants, and learning his way with wood, he began crafting objects from the trees. Nearly fifty years on, and many miles from the piney woods of his youth, Waddell has learned much about trees, and that knowledge informs his approach to sculpture and furniture.

For Waddell, the process of creating sculpture or furniture takes time. He must first find the right fallen tree, one that speaks truths to him. This can take a little luck; but with patience, nature eventually provides. He studies the tree, seeks to divine its essence and trace its past from the contours of the tree’s form, the material quality of its wood, and even its knots and scars.  He then works with the tree to capture its essential nature.  Sometimes, he works through subtraction, by removing material to expose hidden marvels; other times, he does so through addition, by joining it with other tree remnants or juxtaposing it with other materials.  Always, he proceeds thoughtfully, seeking, above all, to be true to the tree and the material. 

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As a craftsman, an artist, and a naturalist, Waddell knows the gifts that trees provide to us. They supply us with shade, fruit, shelter, and life-giving oxygen. But they also bestow upon us psychic gifts—serenity, comfort, connection—qualities that impart meaning to our lives and make our beings more human. Through his work, Waddell seeks to provide these fallen trees one more opportunity to give and also to arouse in viewers a sense of gratitude for the trees that have given us so much.

Solo Exhibitions

2009 

September The Shoal Creek Walk, Austin, Texas

A Special Presentation Austin Art League 100 Annual Meeting, Joan Lowe Residence Austin, Texas

2008  

The Laughing Alligator University of Texas Permian Basin Odessa, Texas

2006

Saved from the Fire Umlauf Museum and Sculpture Garden

98/06 Building 98, Marfa, Texas, Building 98

Tree Bones Artillery Gallery, Austin, Texas

2005  

Fragments of Earth Building 98, Marfa, Texas

2004  

Deductive Process Building 98, Marfa, Texas

2003  

Visit from the Marfins Texas Film Society Hall of Fame, Austin, Texas

Building 98 Marfa, Texas

2002  

Changing Nature - Stumps, Moontower Gallery, Austin, Texas

Pedestrian Amazonian Z’Tejas, Austin, Texas

2001  

Changing Nature Gallery Hana, Austin, Texas

Group Exhibitions

2009

June New American Talent 24, Jones Center, Art House,  Austin, Texas

5 X 7 Jones Center, Austin, Texas

Art Ball Austin, Texas

ART+, IF+D Austin, Texas

2008  

Texas Chair Project AMOA, Austin, Texas

Mountain Gathering Keystone, Colorado

5 X 7 Jones Center, Austin, Texas

Austin Fine Arts Festival Austin, Texas

Abstract ‘08 Brocca Gallery, Austin, Texas

2007  

East Austin Studio Tour

War – Artist Response, Daugherty, Austin, Texas

500E Marfa, Texas

Sculptfest Umlauf Sculpture Garden, Austin, Texas

The Gathering Austin, Texas

5 X 7 Jones Center, Austin, Texas

Spoonbend Austin, Texas

Peoples Gallery 3 pieces for 2007, City Hall, Austin, Texas

 

2006  

AveD Austin, Texas

East Austin Studio Tour Artillery Gallery, Austin, Texas

Group 105 Marfa, Texas

Sculptfest Umlauf Sculpture Garden, Austin, Texas

Black & White Artillery Gallery, Austin, Texas

Art Matters Art Alliance, Till Richter, Austin, Texas

Sculptors Dominion San Antonio, Texas

Caution, Ghost Tree – Gates Project, Whole Foods with Austin Green Art Austin, Texas

5 X 7 Jones Center, Austin, Texas

Wood be Nice Austin Bergstrom Airport

Capricorn’s Birthday Show The Bread Factory, Austin, Texas

2005  

East Austin Studio Tour Artillery Gallery, Austin, Texas

Cup City in conjunction with Austin Green Art & Starbucks, Austin, Texas

Texas Sculptors Showcase Nancy Fayfe Cardozier Gallery, University of Texas Permian Basin

On the Road to Dallas 5 X 7, Conduit Gallery, Dallas, Texas

Sculptors’ Dominion Invitational San Antonio, Texas

5 X 7 Austin, Texas

Marfa Texas Building 98

2004  

Sculptors’ Dominion Invitational San Antonio

5 X 7 Art House, Austin, Texas

2003  

Sculptors’ Dominion Invitational San Antonio

2002  

Changing Nature IV Art Space, San Antonio, Texas

Guadalupe Arts Austin, Texas

2001  

Listen if You Can: A Celebration of Collaboration University of Texas at Austin

1993

Exhibit F “Rachmaninov’s Pets” awarded publics choice, Austin, Texas

1992  

Exhibit E “World Bar” awarded critics choice and public’s choice, Austin, Texas

Curation / Producing

2007 

War – Artist Respond, Daugherty, Austin, Texas

2006

Sits on Sixth Scarborough Building, Austin, Texas

2005

Artillery Gallery Co-founder, Austin, Texas

Visiting Artist Teaching

Umlauf Sculpture Garden

 

Marbridge Farm, building Amazonian Pedestrians with residents

 

Marbridge Farm, Pollock Painted T-Shirts

Panels & Selection Comittees

2007

Austin Fine Arts Alliance, Festival Judge

 

Austin Fine Arts Alliance, Juror

 

2006

Austin Fine Arts Alliance, Festival Judge

 

2005

Director of Construction & Installations for Austin Green Art

 

Juror, 30 X 30, Shelter Design Competion, Design Reprographics, Austin, Texas

Education

2004 – 2005  

Austin Community College, classes in metal work

1976 – 1980  

Glassell School, Houston, Texas

1970 – 1973  

Various Universities in Texas, classes in mathematics, science, engineering

Previous Business

1982 – 2001  

LeGrande Company, Inc, specializing in fine wood interiors

 

1968 – 1982  

HW Contractors, general construction of residential remodeling

 

1975 – 1980  

Assistant to sculptor Thom Wheeler in Houston, Texas

1972 – 1974  

Yost & Company, led furniture builder and responsible for R&D of new techniques

Associations

Austin Visual Artist Association

Texas Society of Sculptors, President 2005 – 2008

International Sculptor Society

Texas Sculpture Network

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© 2020 Hank Waddell