6 Artists Who Are Pushing the Limits of Wood

Founded 2006, based in Bogotá, Colombia

Carpeta Calada

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MANGLE is a partnership between Colombian artists María Paula Alvarez and Diego Fernando Alvarez, who met as woodworking students at the Fundación Escuela de Artes y Oficios (School of Arts and Crafts) in Santo Domingo​, and later married. The group takes its name from the Latin classification for mangrove tree, a plant—known for its twisty, tangled shapes—that reflects their interest in complex forms in the natural world.

“I think their diversity distinguishes them,” explains Dara Metz of Magnan Metz, the collective’s New York gallery. For Metz, MANGLE’s cross-disciplinary approach is part of their appeal. “They create both usable objects and conceptual objects without thought to what category they might be considered,” she explains.

Although the duo is trained in carpentry, many of MANGLE’s sculptures aren’t immediately recognizable as woodcraft. They create the illusion that wood can behave just like textiles, rubber, or even living plants. Among their recent subjects are tangled extension cords, ferns rendered in wood and concrete, and delicate plywood lattices inspired by the ironwork of Bogotá.

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