Zoran Mojsilov transforms wood in 'Storm'

Clinch, 2012, by Zoran Mojsilov
Clinch, 2012, by Zoran Mojsilov
Photo courtesy Bockley Gallery

The role of an artist is to be an alchemist. They take materials and transform them into something original that the world has never seen. So the act of creating art is really the process of metamorphosis. This is especially true in Zoran Mojsilov's new show, "Storm," exhibited at Bockley Gallery. Here, the artist has taken a dead tree and given it a new life, embracing and reconstructing its original form and exploring the thematic implications of its death.

Cleave, 2012 by Zoran Mojsilov
Cleave, 2012 by Zoran Mojsilov
Photo courtesy Bockley Gallery

The sculpture, created for the show, came from a black walnut tree that blew down in the neighborhood last year, just a few blocks from the space, says gallery owner Todd Bockley. 

Mojsilov knows the family whose tree fell down. They called him up, and when he saw it he knew he wanted to create an entire show from the tree. 

Born in Serbia, Mojsilov has been in Minnesota for the last 30 years having moved here after he married Ilene Krug, a native Minnesotan. The artist has shown his work all across the country and internationally, and has received numerous fellowships such as from the Jerome Foundation, the Bush Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. 

Mojsilov is one of those people who exudes a jovial and passionate energy, and always has a story to tell. He recently had a sculpture unveiled at Ice House Plaza, where he also was hired to thermal the stones used for seating. Not satisfied with simply smoothing out the rough and jagged edges, Mojsilov took his creative license to actually make each of the stones a work of art itself.
Messenger, 2012 by Zoran Mojsilov
Messenger, 2012 by Zoran Mojsilov
Photo courtesy Bockley Gallery

You can see that intensity in the two large wood sculptures in Bockley Gallery, Cleave and Clinch. Both of these works bring out the natural shapes and forms of the wood, but at the same time transform the material into something entirely new. Cleave is a shifting, almost slithering piece of work, with coiling limbs and bulbs of dark wood that almost seem to be inflating before your eyes. Cleave, meanwhile, features blades of wood crisscrossing each other and chained with iron making an almost sinister gesture. There's also a smaller wood sculpture, Messenger, that assumes a bird-like form, made of two shapes that look like packages. 

Ironically, when Mojsilov was installing the exhibit on Labor Day, another tree in the neighborhood fell down. "I heard this great crash and the whole tree came down," he says. It was a perfectly clear day outside; it fell because it was old.

Ideally, Mojsilov would like to use the wood from the tree for a new series of work, although it's not for sure that he'll get permission to use it yet, Bockley says. 


Through October 6
Bockley Gallery
2123 W. 21st St., Minneapolis
Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.
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Bockley Gallery

2123 W. 21st St.
Minneapolis, MN 55405


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