Build – burn – repeat. Expressing the complexity of wood through craft objects by Thomas O'Hara

Build – burn – repeat. Expressing the complexity of wood through craft objects by Thomas O'Hara
Thomas O'Hara, 'Object 9,' 2024. Mixed Eucalypt, 60 x 90 x 80cm. Photo supplied.

This practice-led research project uses the explorative nature of craft to investigate the complexities of wood by creating a series of brooches and larger objects. These works are made from tens to hundreds of wooden segments assembled in a complex matrix. Rules are established to create a core structure for all the works. Each work is then transformed by fire, eroding and unifying the surface, which is cleaned to reveal the wood’s grain structure in a unique way that connects to the material’s organic origins. These two processes are developed and evolved over each successive work in a cumulative exploration of what makes something complex. The generative automatic aspect of rules is examined against intentionality and control within the developed processes and the effect this has on the complexity of the works. The result is a series of unique works that appear both human constructed and formed in nature, becoming reminders of our interconnected relationship with this complex and wonderful material, wood.

Thomas O’Hara began studying Gold and Silversmithing in 2010 at RMIT University, Melbourne and completed his Honours there in 2014. After returning to his home town of Canberra, Thomas commenced a PhD at the Australian National University School of Art and Design. With a trade background as an electrician, Thomas has learnt a controlled systematic way of constructing work that he has combined with a strong interest in organic, free formed patterns and objects found in nature. This has resulted in a practice that explores our complex connection to nature through wooden objects that blur what is human constructed and what is naturally formed. These works provoke curiosity and engage us with material that reminds us of our interconnected relationship to nature.

Thomas is a Higher Degree by Research Candidate, completing his Doctor of Philosophy.

Date & time

Thu 11 Jul 2024, 10.30am – Thu 25 Jul 2024, 3pm


ANU School of Art & Design Gallery, Cnr Liversidge St & Ellery Cres, Acton


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