- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 11, 2002

There are bowls and platters and other objects on display these days at the Ellipse Arts Center in Arlington that director Trudi Van Dyke or all people, regardless of their knowledge of art can readily identify.
Then there are pieces that elicit only a shrug from Ms. Van Dyke.
"I have no idea what that is," she says with a smile.
But that is partially the point of Branching Out: Contemporary Wood Turning 2002 , the Ellipse's new wood-turning show, which will be on display through May 4. Unlike another wood-turning exhibition, on display at the Renwick Gallery downtown, Wood Turning in North America Since 1930 , the Ellipse exhibit focuses on advances in the craft.
"We started thinking about it a couple of years ago," Ms. Van Dyke says. "About that time we found out that the Renwick was also planning to host a traveling show from Philadelphia. We decided there was a need to show current work from people in the Renwick show. The Renwick show has current work, but in general it comes from more of a historical basis. Our hope is that people would want to see wood turning by people who are recognized as movers and shakers in the craft today."
Ms. Van Dyke wrote to all the turners who had pieces in the Renwick exhibit, and to other turners who were considered up-and-coming talents in the wood-turning world. She asked for two samples from each of them, stipulating that the piece must have been made within the last two years. She ended up with about 90 pieces. The only local turner represented in "Branching Out" is Phil Brown of Carderock.
"It really shows the direction that wood turning has been taking," Ms. Van Dyke says of the exhibit. "If you go to the Renwick and come here and see this exhibit and see some of the same names, you can really see the mentors and the students and who's influenced who. A couple of pieces [at the Ellipse] are a collaboration of turners, and they run the gamut from things sculptural and symbolic."
Mr. Brown has served on the boards for the American Association of Woodturners and the Capital Area Woodturners Assocation, the association's local chapter. Those experiences, plus 30 years of wood turning, gave him plenty of contacts when the Ellipse decided to try to build an exhibit of its own.
Mr. Brown said pieces began to arrive at the Ellipse Arts Center in March and that opening them was "like Christmas." He says 85 pieces are for sale, the retail value of which is almost $300,000.
"I think it's unprecedented to have two wood-turning exhibits in this area at the same time," he says. "It should be a real boost to the craft as a whole. Hopefully people will be able to see both exhibits. It's going to be a real treat for them."

WHAT: "Branching Out: Contemporary Wood Turning 2002"
WHERE: The Ellipse Arts Center, 4350 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, through May 4
INFORMATION: 703/228-7710

WHAT: "Wood Turning in North America Since 1930"
WHERE: Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW
HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, through July 14
INFORMATION: 202/357-2700

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