Ep.156 features Thaddeus Mosley (b. 1926, New Castle, PA), a Pittsburgh-based artist whose monumental sculptures are crafted with the felled trees of Pittsburgh’s urban canopy, via the city’s Forestry Division. Using only a mallet and chisel, Mosley reworks salvaged timber into biomorphic forms. With influences ranging from Isamu Noguchi to Constantin Brâncuși—and the Bamum, Dogon, Baoulé, Senufo, Dan, and Mossi works of his personal collection—Mosley’s sculptures mark an inflection point in the history of American abstraction. These “sculptural improvisations,” as he calls them, take cues from the modernist traditions of jazz. “The only way you can really achieve something is if you’re not working so much from a pattern. That’s also the essence of good jazz,” Mosley says of his method.
Mosley is the recipient of the 2022 Isamu Noguchi Award. His work has been exhibited and acquired by major museums and foundations since 1959, including the Mattress Factory Museum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2009); the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2018); Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts (2020); Sculpture Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (2020); Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland (2021); Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen, Norway (2022) and Art + Practice, Los Angeles, California (2022). His work is held in public collections including the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland; the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York, New York; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and the Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine.
His traveling solo exhibition Forest, previously at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, and Art+Practice, Los Angeles, will continue on to the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas May 2023.
Dallas News https://www.dallasnews.com/arts-entertainment/visual-arts/2023/05/25/thaddeus-mosleys-rugged-wooden-sculptures-explore-balances-of-forces-at-the-nasher/
Sculpture Magazine https://sculpturemagazine.art/thaddeus-mosley-2/
Touchstone Center for Crafts https://touchstonecrafts.salsalabs.org/mosleystudiotour/index.html
Pitt Magazine https://www.pittmag.pitt.edu/news/wood-work
Carnegie Museums (1997) https://carnegiemuseums.org/magazine-archive/1997/mayjun/feat3.htm
Nasher Sculpture Center https://www.nashersculpturecenter.org/press/press-releases/news/id/221
United States Artist https://www.unitedstatesartists.org/fellow/thaddeus-mosley/
Colby Museum https://museum.colby.edu/2022/08/05/art-break-directional-by-thaddeus-mosley-2/
Baltimore Museum of Art https://artbma.org/exhibition/thaddeus-mosley-forest
All artwork © Thaddeus Mosley. Courtesy of Thaddeus Mosley and Karma
Circular Fable, 2021
48½ x 17¼ x 16½ inches; 121.92 x 50.8 x 2.54 cm
Southwestern Suite, 2021
104½ x 72 x 45 inches; 265.43 x 182.88 x 114.3 cm
Air Step – for Fayard and Harold Nicholas, 2021
103½ x 55 x 27 inches; 243.84 x 91.44 x 91.44 cm
Elegiac Stanza for Sam Gilliam, 2022
Walnut and cherry
93½ x 33 x 42 inches; 237.49 x 83.82 x 106.68 cm