Born in London in 1991, Max Bainbridge studied Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art, where he graduated in 2013 as a photographer and sculptor. Bainbridge’s sculptural vessels hewn from wood, reflect a need to create a tangible and grounded presence in space though the physicality of the object. Taking the natural shape and form of the wood as a starting point, he uses woodturning, hand carving and elemental processes to create objects that are reflective of the making process; each piece displaying the physical effort that goes into their conception through the marks left on the surface. Working with wood sourced directly from the landscape, his work forms a deep connection to place through the ritualistic relationships he builds between objects and their site of origin.
Max gathers materials from the forest himself and says the wood is so full of life and volatility that it needs to be handled carefully. Sometimes he is contacted when a tree that is storm damaged or earmarked to be felled: “There is an emotional attachment to trees while they are standing, and there is often a mutual understanding and respect of the value in preserving that once a tree has come to the end of its life.” He also goes on to say “I can spend days or weeks physically turning and carving a piece that then has to sit for months slowly drying and moving to then be stable enough for me to finish it. This period of drying out is when the material gives back. It will warp and crack, with each species of tree reacting differently, bringing out its unique identity. Over the years you learn to read the signs as to how a piece might react and I will choose to either intervene or encourage those movements. It’s a wonderful dialogue back forth between the hand of the maker and the object.”