UW–Madison’s Tim O’Neill, a 3-D technician in the School of Education’s Art Department, has an exhibit of new work at the Abel Contemporary Gallery in Stoughton, Wisconsin, through Nov. 6.
O’Neill is an accomplished studio artist working in both wood and metal. His most recent body of work, “Halls Creek Lodge,” looks to Castor canadensis, the North American Beaver, for inspiration. While surveying damage wrought by beavers on a recent visit to a friend’s riverside cabin, O’Neill was struck by the uncanny resemblance between a chewed piece of wood and Constantin Brancusi’s sculpture, “Torso of a Young Man.” O’Neill sees the works in this body as collaborations with beavers, using gnawed wood forms as impetus for furniture and sculptures. Drawing connections between the “mark making” of the beaver’s teeth and the wood worker’s chisels and saws, O’Neill also creates imagined sculptural tools using cast beaver teeth in playful visual comparisons.