Modern Abstract Wood Sculpture

I hesitate to use the word Modern. During my student days and to this day, I question the labeling of Primitive and Modern Art. After reading that the modern artists got their inspiration from the so-called Primitive art, my choice of description is African Art.

It did not take me very long to find my style in art. During my second year in college, we were introduced to the English sculptors Henry More and Barbara Hepworth and I fell madly in love. Their work had a strong influence on my taste and appreciation for sculpture. The hole/negative space/empty space was a vital part of Moore’s trademark, creating a sense of volume.

 Art Student

The ceramic tutor was very disappointed when I choose sculpture instead of ceramics as my main course of study. I think it all went back to the first week of ceramics in the introductory courses. He took us into a small display room full of ceramic exhibits. Was I second guessing myself, when I heard some students gasping in admiration. When the tutor asked me for my opinion, I replied, “If that is what we are supposed to follow, I would not be part of it. I thought they were awful.”

“That, students, was my chamber of horrors, a noticeable few of you would not be able to choose ceramics as your main course.”

Coming from a generation of island potters, though never taking part in the learning process, I seem to display a natural ability to manage the art. At which point I disclosed my family history. But after Moore and Hepworth, the decision was to study sculpture as my main subject and ceramics as the secondary subject.

Other courses offered were painting, fabric printing, weaving and needle work, which all students had to engage in an introductory course. There were other notable artists that inspired me from my student days: Arp, Modglianni, Rodin, Dali, Picasso, Giacometti , Ernst, and Brancusi.


One could describe me as a minimalist when it comes to my art. Detail is not my concern. I usually concentrate on the simple form. This is evident in my carved fish, an empty space for the eyes or a simple outline. The same goes for my carved birds.

Touch Forms

When visiting exhibitions, I dislike signs that read Please do not Touch. I am the opposite. My carvings cry out to be touched, with encouragement from the art itself.

Did you like this? Share it!

18 comments on “Modern Abstract Wood Sculpture

While reading and looking at the artworks you’ve shared here, I wonder if what kind of business they’re ideal to display. I remember, there was one hotel in Palawan, Philippines, that displays these kinds of artworks in their lobby. Then, another establishment, a restaurant displays similar artworks in their serving area. As an online business coach, I’d like to recommend these products to fellow entrepreneurs whom I’m coaching. But, I’m not sure what type of business these abstract wood art are ideal display.

Thank you Gomer; I have been trying to get hotels to display art work, but the issue of theft has to be answered.

I did it in Barbados with no problems. My most successful efforts were timely Displays in 2 large department  stores, on in Barbados and one in Trinidad; the Trinidad netted over $40.000 for a one month display. A one day display is feasible if the artist or a staff member is present; I have done several here in Anguilla with mixed results.

Best wishes.

I want to personally thank you for selecting sculpting above ceramics and i must yell you that I am always delighted to see your art works. Over the course of the time I started following your artworks, you have really helped tweak my thinking towards art and I cannot be more grateful. Getting to see your minimalist view of less attention to details but rather the form is also great. Sometimes, the form is all that is needed to identify with the whole. Thanks

Thank you Shelley, I do enjoy carving, my wife lashes me almost every day to create more ceramics, I have to lister to her one day soon, the lashes are getting too hot.Happy you appreciate the style. All the best.

Hello Courtney:),

I loved this modern abstract wood sculpture post mostly because i am of african and these sculptures are accurately “African art”

These are lovely and correct me if i am wrong but  The hole / negative space /empty space used in Moore’s work to creating a sense of volume are a trademark of the Benin Culture in South West Nigeria.

These are very beautiful works and i wish you the very best. 

Thank you, you left out the Shauna sculptures; the Artists never denied their influence, It’s the narrative of the Historians.Best wishes, see more on

Hi there, So wonderful to see these wood sculptures.  Your efforts are going to be widely appreciated.  You have and international flare going, which is excellent. How do you make these?  What a very creative work of art. I would be so interested to see a price chart.  How much are your carvings?  All the best, Krista

Thank you Krista and for your interest. I am International having exhibited and lived in Europe, North America, Scandinavia and the Caribbean. You can view– fine art and fine craft, the PayPal button will appear when you click-read more. Google the name Courtney Devonish and read some more. Thank you and hope to hear from you again. Best wishes.

HI there

Your artwork looks great and honestly do you sell them? It must take a lot of effort to create one.

I feel art is something I am not strong at however your explanation helps me understand this better.

I fully support artwork suppose to be touch to be appreciated.

Looking forward for more posting from you.

Great stuff.

Thank you, I have been selling my art since 1967, and the Devonish Art Gallery is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Check out, or just Google Courtney Devonish. Hope to hear from you again.

Thanks for this artwork and I appreciate your choice of sculpture than ceramics. I myself go for this option for a simple reason, durability if that’s the word to describe. Woodcrafts can stand the unexpected things such as falling, banging and other accidental, careless movements. Ceramics easily break while woodcrafts endure all.

Your being minimalist is just appropriate for abstract wood sculpture. It makes us think and have different interpretations of what we see and that’s the challenge you create in the minds of the onlookers.

Both disciplines has its merits, Some of the oldest relics are ceramic. wood is an advantage for me when it comes to shipping.Thanks for visiting. Best wishes

H Courtney,

I’m pleased you decided to work your art in wood! I love the natural feel and unique grain pattern of every piece. I purchased a small sculpture from a Rastafarian artist in Barbados many years ago, He titled it the “lovers” and carved his name on the base of it. It takes centre stage on my window sill and still make me smile inwardly every time I touch it. His simplistic style was very similar to yours, so what’s not to love!

I wish you every success and joy in what you create.

Thanks for visiting, what was the name of the artist , I am Bajan, but left  31 years ago, now you need to add to the collection Lol. Best wishes

Hi Courtney,

The artist was called Arlon.

I’ll be having a browse through your work!

Sorry, I am not aware of his work; I left Barbados 31 years ago and have not kept abreast of the new artists

These are some really beautiful modern abstract wood sculpture pieces that you have shown us here. I can see why you chose to focus on this form of art versus ceramics or some of the others that you studied. You have a talent that is evident to see.

Do you sell these globally? There is definitely a market if so, in the USA and elsewhere. I have friends that have been collectors of African art for years and they have some wonderful pieces. You are also right, these are meant to be touched, their beauty can be enjoyed from this even more…

Best of luck to you and your career…You deserve to make it big time in the Art world. Thanks for sharing!

Thanks for the compliment Dave; my work can be viewed and purchase on my website and shipping is When I was in North America, Europe or even Barbados, I was on the way; but Anguilla is a small little known Island; the sacrifice was great, but I love the quality of life here, which is currently eroding fast. Google Courtney Devonish and you will understand. All the best.

Comments are closed.