MARK LINDQUIST in his Quincy, FL Studio, 2004
Mark Lindquist, Artist, Wood Sculptor, One of the early pioneers of the field of Woodturning / Sculpture in America.
Photo: John McFadden/Lindquist Studios

Mark Lindquist has been an innovator and leader in the field of woodturning/sculpture since the late 1960s. Lindquist's thirty-plus years of contributions to contemporary art have altered the direction of woodturning and sculpture worldwide.

The Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, honored Lindquist with a retrospective exhibition in 1995 entitled "Mark Lindquist: Revolutions in Wood."

Ken Trapp, curator-in-charge of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, says of Lindquist's career:

"In the early 1970s, Mark Lindquist’s exploration of Japanese ceramic traditions and modern sculptural ideals through the medium of woodturning elevated this traditional craft into an art form expressive of the cultural and ideological developments of the times. He continues to transcend the ever-expanding limits of woodturning, adding to the richness of the discourse within this significant American art movement."

Mark Lindquist's sculpture has evolved out of his art historical studies and his mastery of, and experimentation with, the craft of woodturning. Beginning in the late 1960s, he developed many of the techniques and aesthetic concepts which underlie the current studio woodturning movement, including the use of flawed materials (especially spalted wood), the application of modern abrasive technology, and the integration of Japanese ceramic sensibilities.

Through exhibiting, writing and teaching, Lindquist was instrumental in bringing about the acceptance of the craft of woodturning as a serious art form, and inspired and nurtured the followers of this fledgling movement. Echoes of Mark's innovative turning concepts -- the natural top bowl, the celebration of the tool-mark on the surface of the bowl, the captive bowl, the bowl as landscape, and many others -- continue to reverberate throughout today's turning world.  In the late 1970's, having achieved national acceptance for his work (including acquisition by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City), Lindquist withdrew from active participation in the craft world, and began a broader exploration into contemporary and historical sculptural themes, such as the totem, Japanese Heian wood sculpture, and the woodblock print.

Lindquist developed a system for coupling the chainsaw to the lathe, and began producing massive, yet lyrical, sculptures that, while speaking directly of our machine age, make a timeless statement about the relationship between man and nature. Using retrofitted obsolete machinery from the height of the industrial revolution, Lindquist celebrates the "accidental" rhythms and patterns created by each machine's idiosyncrasies, just as he celebrates the aesthetic value of the flaws in his material.

Using his lathe/chainsaw and other innovative technologies as well as traditional sculpture methods, Lindquist has developed several continuing series of sculptures, including his "Totemic Series", "Captive Series," "Ichiboku Series," and polychromed wall relief series.

Lindquist’s works have been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States and Europe, and have been acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago, the Mint Museum of Craft and Design in Charlotte, the White House Collection of American Craft, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the High Museum in Atlanta, the National Museum of American Art of the Smithsonian, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Bank of America headquarters in Charlotte, and numerous other public and private collections.


Mark Lindquist creates sculptural form by using traditional turning processes but at an almost unimaginably monumental scale.  Liberty Mallet of 2006 is a technical tour de force in virtuoso wood turning technique and, like all of Lindquist's sculpture, it exists on multiple levels...  reflecting on rich social and political metaphors...

From: The Presence of Absence: Exploring the Void in Contemporary Wood Sculpture
Hal Nelson, Director Long Beach Museum of Art, Collectors of Wood Art exhibition at SOFA Chicago, November 9-12, 2006, Catalog page 4

Mark (and his father, Melvin,) were the first contemporary turners to fully explore the use of burls, spalted wood, and wood with deformities such as bark inclusions and natural edges within their bowl and vase forms.  Mark then began altering his traditional two-dimensional sanded and polished pieces by using standard turning tools and chainsaw techniques.  He thus developed surfaces that provided the three-dimensional motif that became integral to his work.  Mark was the first to explore making totems and to develop the use of robotics in making his work.  Along with his wife, Kathy, Mark was also the first to refine techniques in photographing his work, which have now become the standard methods we use today.  Equally important, he had an extraordinary impact on developing the marketing techniques that opened doors into the permanent collections of museums like the Smithsonian and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  In addition, he was foremost in establishing a pricing structure for his own work that woke up the woodturning world… 

- David Ellsworth
American Woodturner - Winter 2006  (POP Merit Fellowship Awards)

             The most striking feature of Mark Lindquist's wood sculptures is that they still have so much of the tree in is this regard which unites his crafts background and his interest in Japan: in both, respect for material as itself has been acceptable.  It is Lindquist's not inconsiderable achievement to reveal this attitude in his sculpture.

                                                            Janet Koplos, Editor, Art in America (1990)

...Mark Lindquist's contributions to [the American woodturning] movement in terms of technical innovations and reconsideration of the vessel as a sculptural form rich in cultural and stylistic associations are so profound and far-reaching that they have reconstituted the field....His generosity in disseminating his ideas and techniques among great numbers of woodturners through carefully researched essays on his ground-breaking discoveries and his basic primer Sculpting Wood: Contemporary Tools and Techniques has had the net result of making many of his pioneering feats regularly accepted practices.  Some of his important technical innovations have received...a sweeping imprimatur from the modern studio woodturning movement....In addition, his artistic reconfiguration of woodturning in terms of Korean and Japanese ceramics, oriental philosophy, and Judeo-Christian symbols demands investigation in order to understand how he has transformed this genre into a metaphoric discourse on the nature of being."
Robert Hobbs
Rhoda Thalhimer Endowed Professor of American Art History, Virginia Commonwealth University 
from Mark Lindquist: Revolutions in Wood, catalog essay for Lindquist's twenty-five year retrospective at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC, March 15 - July 7, 1996

            As a young man, Mark Lindquist produced majestic wood-turned vessels of classical shape, and earned a reputation as one of the nation's most highly regarded master craftsmen of wood-turned objects.  The disciplined, elegant formality of [Lindquist's sculptures] combines traditional associations and a contemporary sensibility.  His sculptures seem to share a kinship...with the modernist works of Brancusi and Noguchi.  Lindquist remains one of the most knowledgeable of artists about wood.

                                                            Josephine Gear, Director of the
Whitney Museum of American Art

  at Philip Morris, Eight Contemporary Sculptors,
                                                            The Lowe Art Museum (1994)

            With his new works Lindquist joins a small but important group of craftsmen‑turned‑sculptors that includes Robert Arneson, Howard Ben Tre, Wendell Castle and Peter Voulkos.  Like these artists, he takes the craftsman's concern for materials to the level of metaphor, and thus he creates art.

                                                            Robert Hobbs, Sculpture Magazine (1990)

            Foremost among [contemporary woodturning artists] is Mark Lindquist . . . who has gone beyond the vessel form to blur the distinction between turning and sculpture.  Lindquist is unique among his contemporaries in his fundamentally sculptural approach to the wooden vessel.  In a radical departure from even the most innovative techniques, Lindquist . . . uses an elaborate sequence of tools, particularly the lathe and chainsaw along with others of his own design, to achieve his ends.

                                                            Jeannine J. Falino

                                                  Collecting American Decorative Arts and Sculpture

                                                            Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1991)

            My moral, I think, is that . . . crafts today . . . are assured of a renaissance.  But they can enjoy this renaissance only by acknowledging certain strict limitations. . . . Mark Lindquist's Windsoar Cloud Chair will not, as it is not intended to, displace the Eames chair.  Still, the comment that it makes is well worth making.

                                                            Spiro Kostof, American Craft (1988)

            [Lindquist] has raised innovative turned wood forms into an art. . . . [In his] rough‑hewn forms . . . the bite of the lathe communicates emotional power.

                                                            Patricia Malarcher, New York Times (1983)

             Lindquist's remarkable ability to animate and shape wood into a dense yet lyrical form is a major contribution to the art of contemporary wood sculpture.

                                                            Sue Graze, Dallas Museum of Art (1985)

            Lindquist's "bowls" . . . are not functional containers . . . but are created as sculptural symbols in which . . . the harmony between the interior and exterior becomes a statement of man and nature.

                                                            Roslyn Siegel, New York Times (1979)

            In addition to the sense of timelessness engendered by the wood and the ancient vessel shapes, Lindquist strives to create a feeling of vast space . . . architectonic scale . . . here, the wood plays a supporting role to Lindquist's expressionistic markings.

                                                            Catherine Fox, Atlanta Journal/Constitution (1982)

             [Lindquist has] contemplated the wood for years before making [a work of art] . . . and when the time arrives . . . there is an explosion in space and time, creating a new world out of the old. . . . [His works] provide a metaphor for the interweavings of human lives.

                                                            Nancy Means Wright, American Craft (1980) 

                   Mark Lindquist has played an important role in the American studio woodturning movement.  A master turner, he continues to push the limits of his medium, using the lathe and chain saw as sculptural tools.  Lindquist's powerful sculptural forms have helped to establish wood turning as a viable and valuable contemporary art form.

                                                            Martha Stamm Connell, Guest Curator
Fine Arts Museum of the South
                                                            Turned Wood by American Craftsmen (1992)






 LINDQUIST STUDIOS   311 Glory Rd. Quincy, FL 32352    850.875.9809