William Stranger at the Pasadena Museum of California Art
A second growth forest is one that has re-grown after being heavily logged or clear-cut. In a similar spirit of rebirth, the exhibition Second Growth explores the "second life" of trees after they have been cut down. Using only salvaged materials and non-toxic finishes in his finely crafted furniture and hand-carved objects, designer and craftsman William Stranger strives to have as little impact on the environment as possible. For his new exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, Stranger includes installations of the original discarded raw materials as well as the finished objects in their "second state." The beautifully crafted furniture fundamentally encourages a closer consideration of mankind's relationship with the natural world.
Second Growth focuses on three main areas of sustainable wood use: scrap, reclaimed materials, and urban salvage. One of the largest sources of waste clogging our landfills is debris from construction sites. Reappropriating these materials from their designation as trash, the exhibition includes a bench fabricated from a large recycled beam, as well as a desk made from a section of an old bowling alley lane. Not only does Stranger use these discarded materials, he also references their rough hewn character in the final appearance of the pieces. The long length of a bench including in the exhibition indicates the size of the massive tree from which the beam was originally cut. The other pieces made from urban salvage-discarded wood from trees found in the Los Angeles area that have fallen over or been cut down because of construction or disease-also prove to be rare and spectacular, embodying the notion that flaws can be an opportunity for creativity. Influenced by the natural structure of trees, Stranger's pieces exemplify restraint, simplicity and harmony.