Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Levi Fisher Ames at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center



Another interesting Ames, this one part of the collection at the Kohler Foundation:

Website description from the Kohler Foundation:

Ames created a vast wooden menagerie of animals from around the world as well as bizarre or heroic characters. After Ames had accumulated several hundred individual carvings, he decided to house them in wooden shadow boxes, hand labeling the carved figures and branding his initials into the top of each box. The glass-fronted boxes were customized to accommodate the various sized carvings. Hinged in the center, they open like a book to reveal the creatures within. Each side may contain one or several carvings with a similar set on the opposing side.

In addition to his fantastic collection of animals real and imagined, Ames carved other objects. His intricate and beautifully realized walking sticks attest to his skill, while small wooden tools and odd items carved from shell, stone, and coconut shell evidence his love of experimentation and exploration. Over the years, he also whittled items such as wooden chains from a single tree branch and types of carvings generally thought of as "tramp art" or "hobo art," along with many Masonic and fraternal symbols and logos. Ames' walking sticks evidence his many interests decorated with chains, animals, and the diamonds, moon, crosses, trefoils and other shapes that represented specific corps in the Civil War.

Levi Fisher Ames firmly believed that his body of work needed to be seen as a comprehensive group in order to be understood and fully appreciated. For this reason, he kept the carvings together, never selling any of them.

9 comments:

oddvenus said...

This was my great-great grandfather. Thank you for recognizing him for the wonderful creative artist that he was - he was also a good & loving man family man too.

Joey said...

You must be SO proud of your great-great grandfather. The work is truly extraordinary...nice to hear he was just as great a man!

Thanks so much for sharing!

oddgranny said...

My daughter, oddvenus, told me about this site and I was so surprised that people knew about my grgrandfather. He was an amazing artist, musician, farmer and family man. My grandmas brother inherited his grandfathers musical talents and could play any instrument he heard.

oddgranny said...

oddvenus is my daughter and we have always heard about Levi from my grandmother. He was an accomplished musician, magician, artist, woodcarver and farmer. He raised a large family and is buried in Monroe, Wis. We are proud to be his descendants.

Tammy Hirst said...

My cousin directed me here, I have seen his work in the museum thanks to my dad, I have the book which I treasure. It was at the museum I was told Levi is a part of my family. My grandmother is Levi's granddaughter, Hope I got that right. I see daily signs of art continueing in our own family. It is a pleasure and honor to be a part of his heritage.

Joey said...

Great to hear from you both! Thankfully, the Kohler Arts Foundation had the foresight to give a home to such a unique body of American folk art. I'm sure that Levi is happy and smiling knowing that his artistic spirit lives on in his descendants.

Thanks for checking out my blog!

Anonymous said...

levi is my grandmothers grandfatheror great grand father . so yes gpa levi is related to me also . i would also like to know how we are related? i would like to know some names of your relatives.

lancaster said...

i have seen these works of art as a child . as they floated from this family member to that family member.i have names of relatives n would love to speak to you if we r related,

Anonymous said...

Lancaster - If we are related & you would like to speak with me - my email is Oddvenus@live.com

I am Levi Fisher's gr gr gr(?) granddaughter.