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Miles Burkholder Carpenter
Root Monster
1968
painted tree roots, rubber, and string
22 5/8 x 28 5/8 x 28 1/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson



"There's something in there, under the surface of every piece of wood. You don't need no design 'cause it's right there, you just take the bark off and if you do it good you can find something." An experienced lumberman, Carpenter cut trees and collected fallen branches and roots in the area around his home in Waverly, Virginia. He added rubber ears, painted stripes, and carved jaws to a straddle-legged root to create this dynamic creature. The mouth makes a clacking sound when the string and rubber bands attached to the heads are manipulated.