In the first major retrospective of his work since his passing, 35 exquisitely carved wood sculptures and 6 paintings from Baltimore artist Joe Haviland (1952-2020) will be on display in the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens in Baltimore. The exhibit, entitled “Dancing with Trees: A Retrospective of Wood Sculpture by Joe Haviland,” will be open to the public January 26 – February 19, 2023, with an opening reception on January 29th, 2pm to 5pm. (Snow Day: Sunday, February 5th, 2023, 2pm to 5pm.)
A nationally recognized wood sculptor, Edward J. ‘Joe’ Haviland is known for his large rough-hewn pieces, sculpted using a chainsaw, hammer and chisel; meticulously sanding and oiling to achieve the elegant finish he desired. Starting in the 1970s and throughout the following decades Haviland dedicated himself to fine-tuning his skills as a carver, exploring and finding influences in both ancient and modern art history. Wood for his work always came from fallen trees or large pruned limbs; in each he sought an inner image. Envision, if you will, an artist’s dance with a tree to pull forth the figure or shape that dwells within. In his words: “My inspiration comes from the wood itself. Often, I will look at it for a long time before beginning to carve. I tend to let the piece dictate where it goes, what stays, and what gets taken away.”
Haviland’s sculptures have been shown locally in Baltimore galleries, and are held in several private collections throughout the United States, including at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. This show offers an unprecedented opportunity to see a comprehensive range of an artist’s lifetime achievement, together in one exhibit.
Sun art critic Glenn McNatt wrote in 1983 that, “Haviland’s pieces emphasize the shapes and textures of the logs from which they are carved, and their polished surfaces are a metaphor for the beauty of the life force which once animated the living wood.”
Noted Baltimore artist James “Jimmy” Rouse remembers Haviland as, “…A great sculptor who would take rough sections of tree trunks and turn them into highly finished abstract sculptures, often mimicking human forms.”
Viewing hours at the Conservatory are Thursday and Friday, 11am to 3pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am to 4pm. Admission is free; however, a donation of $5 for support of the Conservatory is much appreciated. COVID 19 protocols will be followed.