This is, of course, the big debut weekend for the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum — opening day hours are 1-5 p.m. Sunday — but there’s also some amazing art to see in Northwest Arkansas. And I am particularly excited about the giant wooden sculptures created by Fayetteville physician Johnny Adkins.
After 10 or 12 years of hauling home logs — and then stumps — and then whole trees, Adkins’ home on East Mountain is full to overflowing, which might explain why the time has finally come for him to exhibit and sell some of them. He says it’s like pulling teeth, and having walked around his house — and his garage — and his yard with him, I believe him.
While other people might see a rotten tree stump, Adkins believes that that’s where much of the beauty waits to be revealed. Box elder, for instance, turns a deep blood red when it rots, and Adkins can show off that color by cleaning the wood, then stabilizing it with epoxy and sometimes metal rods.
Some pieces become functional — benches, tables — and some have wilder ideas. They grow up to be dancers …. or spiders … or a giant fish with carved teeth and secret compartments in its head.
Working only with a chainsaw, a grinder, a sander, a drill and various chisels, “I’m releasing the wood from its prison,” Adkins says.
The exhibition, titled “Alien Reef,” will be a family affair, including paintings by his daughter, Kate, and music by his son Michael and friends like Candy Lee.
An open house is set for 4-9 p.m. Saturday at the former Nelms Adventure Subaru showroom at 2781 N. College Ave., just south of Shakes in Fayetteville, and the show continues through Jan. 27. Find out more at johnnyadkins.com.