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Devil on a Root Monster

1974 Miles Burkholder Carpenter Born: Brownstown, Pennsylvania 1889 Died: Petersburg, Virginia 1985 painted wood, fur, leather, synthetic cord overall: 26 3/4 x 29 3/4 x 10 1/2 in. (67.9 x 75.6 x 26.7 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment 1997.124.54A-C Not currently on view


Luce Center Quote

"If I had a root or a piece of wood that looked odd, I thought, well, I’ll make it look odd because maybe the people will think more of it than if it was a real natural looking piece." Carpenter, quoted in Gregson, Miles Carpenter: The Wood Carver form Waverly, exhibition catalogue, 1985

Luce Center Label

The primary colors and awkward carving in Devil on a Root Monster create a folk piece that is both fiendish and funny. Miles Carpenter would gather roots and branches from around his home in Waverly, Virginia, and carve them into fantastic monsters, allowing the natural shape of the wood to inspire his pieces as he transformed knots into faces and thin branches into legs. After carving and sanding the wood, Carpenter painted each sculpture with bright enamel paints from the hardware store.

Keywords

Fantasy - monster

Religion - Satan

sculpture

folk art

animal parts - hair - fur

animal parts - leather

paint

wood

About Miles Burkholder Carpenter

Born: Brownstown, Pennsylvania 1889 Died: Petersburg, Virginia 1985

More works in the collection by
Miles Burkholder Carpenter