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The Getty Center
Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Museum Lecture Hall
Admission: Free; reservations recommended. Call (310) 440-7300
Awestruck at the sight of a Grinling Gibbons (British, 1648–1721) carving in a London church, David Esterly left a career in academia to dedicate his life to woodcarving—its physical rhythms, intricate beauty, and intellectual demands. After more than a decade of this pursuit, Esterly had become the foremost practitioner of Gibbons's technique, which revolutionized ornamental sculpture in the late 1600s with its spectacular cascades of flowers, fruits, and foliage. When a fire at Hampton Court Palace destroyed a spectacular Gibbons carving, Esterly was commissioned to recreate it. So began the most challenging year in his life, a time defined by discovery and reflection that would indelibly change him, forcing him to question his abilities and delve deeply into what it means to make something with integrity. Esterly's new book, The Lost Carving: A Journey to the Heart of Making, is a memoir of his year at Hampton Court and an exploration into the nature of creating something.
David Esterly's carving has been cited as some of the most astonishing woodwork today. The work is in the tradition of Grinling Gibbons, whose spectacular cascades of flowers, fruits, and foliage revolutionized ornamental sculpture during the age of Christopher Wren. His replacements for damaged Gibbons-era carvings are his only reproduction work. Esterly seeks to reinvent the Gibbons tradition by evolving fresh designs for the present age. In all his work he tries to push carving technique and the medium to their highest potential.