October 6 - January 18, 2011
Joy Pratt Markham Gallery Project Room

General, Leon Niehues, 2009

Artist Statement:

There is an old saying that it is an artist's job to keep changing. I've kept that in mind over the years and make a point to devote time to new ideas each year. This exhibition spans more than twenty years of my work, with some older and some newer pieces.

I work more than one basket at a time, sometimes as many as ten. By taking my time with each piece, I am able to build a good form, and a good sense of form is what is most important in the work here.

The wood and wood splint materials in these baskets are made of white oak that has been prepared by me using old white oak basket making techniques of hand splitting and splint knife work. They are woven free-form (without molds) and stitched with linen thread. Lately, to keep things interesting, I have been using some new materials such as 3-M emery cloth for a skin and brass and stainless mini machine screws for connection. These new materials have helped me to keep my basketwork evolving.

About the Artist:

Leon Niehues has been working as a studio artist for more than 30 years. He creates distinctive baskets using long white oak splints from the trees that grow near his home in Northwest Arkansas. Although his designs incorporate traditional splint making techniques, he adds innovative concepts, new construction methods, and simple design elements that transform his baskets into exciting works of art. In 2005 he was named an Arkansas Living Treasure by the Arkansas Department of Heritage. His baskets have been featured in The New York Times,American Craft Magazine and Craft Arts International. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and is represented in the permanent collections of the Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, Arkansas; Racine Arts Museum, Racine, Wisconsin; Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, West Virginia; Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, North Carolina; The Museum of Art and Design, New York, New York; The Horn Collection, Little Rock, Arkansas; and The White House Collection of American Craft, Washington, D.C.