Michelle Peterson-Albandoz works with reclaimed wood. Discarded pieces of porch, flooring and windows with their original patina make their way into her constructions. For her newest "Untitled" piece, a downed oak stump serves as a statement of process. The chunks of wood carefully adhered to the inside of the piece point out the obvious connection of source and product. Much like our pension for fast food, where animals are turned into unrecognizable substances, so is the tree merged down into a distorted commodity for our consumption.
Long View Gallery in Washington DC hosted Michelle's third show since the spring 2011. Peterson-Albandoz is based in Chicago and creates her reclaimed wood
constructions from the ample wood available in the city. Chicago, unlike many cities, has been destructing and constructing vast tracts of neighborhoods, updating dilapidated buildings
with new businesses and homes. Wood and raw materials from these construction sites are collected (often by her friends), and taken to her studio behind her business
(Las Manos Gallery). Nails and inconsistencies are stripped out of the wood and cut down to various shapes and sizes. These pieces are then re-assembled onto
panels to create patterns and colors to the artist's liking.
Michelle walks into the gallery containing her solo show titled "Urban Forest" which opened on Thursday evening, April 12th.
Michelle is greeted by Drew Porter, the Director of Long View Gallery.
Gallery owner William Waybourn, left, and art consultant Siobhan Gavagan, right, cozy up with Michelle during the opening minutes of the show.
Michelle stands in her "Urban Forest" created by building up old cut window frames from deconstructed buildings in Chicago. The wood has come full-cycle,
first existing as trees, then as board that created mankind's structures. The wood was then deconstructed and created into tree-like forms that hang from
the gallery's ceiling.
Patrons wind their way through the gallery. The featured work ran in two themes. One, more natural, organic creations, using seed-like shapes to reflect leaves and grains.
This theme blended into the second body of work which broke the wood down into more geometric lines, reflecting structures and pixels of digital images.
Michelle talks about the process behind her urban trees.
Michelle chats with patrons interested in her work.
Patrons admire Michelle's largest work in the show- a six panel piece stretching down the wall of the gallery. Each seed-like piece was hand-cut by Michelle to reflect the shape of a seed.
Patrons chat and drink wine during the opening at Long View Gallery. Attendance was fantastic.
A couple chats in front of one of Michelle's more "digital" inspired wood construction pieces.
Natural colored reclaimed wood pieces are blended with sporadic color pieces to give the impression of a digital visual creeping into an organic one.
Patrons take in one of four panel pieces that were inspired by leaves in the rainforests of Puerto Rico. Michelle spent part of her youth living and creating work in these forests and
uses them as inspiration in regards to her many types of artwork.