Atlanta wood-turner Matt Moulthrop honed beauty from Auburn’s poisoned oaks

Atlanta wood-turner Matt Moulthrop created a large sculptural bowl from one of the Auburn Oaks that was poisoned at Toomer's Corner. It was recently unveiled at Auburn University's Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. CONTRIBUTED BY JULE COLLINS SMITH MUSEUM

Atlanta wood-turner Matt Moulthrop created a large sculptural bowl from one of the Auburn Oaks that was poisoned at Toomer’s Corner. It was recently unveiled at Auburn University’s Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. CONTRIBUTED BY JULE COLLINS SMITH MUSEUM

Matt Moulthrop was as horrified as anyone when news broke in 2010 that a University of Alabama fan had poisoned Auburn University’s landmark oak trees after a football defeat.

But unlike most others around the country whose grips tensed on newspapers, steering wheels and remote controls at reports of the fan pouring herbicide on the roots of the 130-year-old oaks, the noted Atlanta wood-turner could do something about it.

Not that Moulthrop could bring back the towering Southern live oaks, which had figured prominently in countless celebrations at Toomer’s Corner, gateway to the Auburn campus. But as one of the country’s top young craftsmen, he knew he could extract pure beauty from the powerful grip of tragedy.

He envisioned creating a large bowl that would stand as a symbol of the oaks’ majesty, and perhaps even salve the sense of loss felt by the extended Auburn family.

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EXHIBITS

“Matt Moulthrop: Auburn Oak” and “Heartwood: Woodturned Vessels by Ed, Philip and Matt Moulthrop”

Through Aug. 31 at Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Free. 901 S. College St., Auburn, Alabama. 334-844-1484, http://www.jcsm.auburn.edu.

Works by Moulthrop family

Ongoing at Signature Gallery. Free. 3267 Roswell Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-237-4426, thesignatureshop.com.

“Generations: Turned Bowls by Ed, Philip and Matt Moulthrop”

Through June 22 at Morris Museum of Art. $5, $3 ages 65 and up and 13-17, students and military with ID. 1 Tenth St., Augusta. 706-724-7501, http://www.themorris.org.

“Learning the Curve: The Artistry of Matt Moulthrop”

Aug. 29-Nov. 16 at the Museum Center at Five Points. 200 Inman St. E., Cleveland, Tennessee. 423-339-5745, http://www.museumcenter.org.


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