Posts Tagged ‘Art in Ocean Grove’

By Kathy Arlt, Contributing Writer  @Blogfnger

For years Roddy Wildeman repurposed cast-off furniture, like turning chairs into tables or stools, yet he wanted to do more. He wanted to transform cast-off building materials into art. But Wildeman was nervous about starting an artistic career, unsure if his vision would create anything worthwhile. When he told an artist friend about his reluctance, the friend told him: “Just do it.” And so he did.

Wildeman’s work made its gallery debut at the Tumblety Howell Art Gallery in Ocean Grove on July 28, and a large crowd turned out to view his creations. Here he is next to “1840 Parkway, Lake Como, NJ.”

All the wooden blocks that make up this piece were meticulously formed and arranged by Wildeman from lumber salvaged during a Lake Como renovation. (Among his many “day jobs”—real estate sales, property management—were years working in construction.) Cutting the wood is the only alteration he makes to the material; the colors are the original paint.

One of the most striking pieces in the show is this starburst titled “36 Webb Ave., Ocean Grove, NJ,” which is where the gray wood came from. Despite having collected an enormous stockpile of materials to work with—“I’ve got six truckloads of wood in storage,” he told me—he still remembers where he salvaged every board.

Wildeman says designing a piece is what takes the most time, and part of that process is editing. “I don’t want to do too much, because then the pieces just look thrown together.” he said. An example of his restraint is evident in a table and chairs set. The chairs are cut-down bar stools topped with camping seats and finished with vintage plumbing handles. The table uses a vintage brass bed frame as a base, and a glass top covers a wooden mosaic underneath. “I thought about adding a trellis and a vintage light fixture above the table,” he told me, “but that would’ve gone too far.”

Wildeman was born and raised in Long Branch, and has been a full-time Ocean Grove resident for about a decade. He’s a proud full-time single dad; his daughter, Asia, turns 15 in August. In addition to making art, he also makes music. “I love the guitar,” he told me. “It’s just a beautiful instrument.”

You can see more of his creations at the Tumblety Howell Art Gallery on Pilgrim Pathway. He also takes commissions for specific projects.

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