Leah K Woods

Part of the recent exhibition A Department of Makers: University of New Hampshire Studio Faculty at the Kingston Gallery
December 31, 2014-February 1, 2015


The work I included in this group show is part of a new series of sculptures titled Navigation. This work explores the communication of experiences and emotions through the framework of maps. Using my own experiences as a starting point, each sculpture communicates a story and expresses how that story felt, whether painful, difficult, positive, or joyous. The viewer is not able to pinpoint the location of each map as far as its setting in a particular country or city, but rather is encouraged to connect and empathize with the emotions experienced during each journey.

Maps as communicators of experience exist across a multitude of cultures and activities. Hikers on the Appalachian Trail, for example, will often leave simple drawings for one another in logbooks throughout the hike. These drawings can explain experiences ranging from a lean-to that leaks rain, to a particularly rocky path, to a vista that should not be missed. While each one of these ideas could be written as easily as drawn, there is a profound feeling communicated in a stick figure drawing of a person sleeping under a simple shelter with rain drops falling down and tears running down his face, or the simple line-drawing of a sun over a cliff, implying words could not do justice to express the impact of that experience.

With these ideas in mind, my sculptures take journeys from my life, some physical others psychological, and express them predominately through the use of wood. These wall hung “maps” use line, curve, and the shadow projected onto the wall in order to symbolize movement through an event or experience. Because the geography as well as each particular situation will not be evident to the viewer, information will be revealed through clues in the title of each piece, as well as in the use, texture, and surface treatment of material.