Library Speaker’s Forum: Mara DeMattia and the Works of Robert Wood

The library’s guest speaker for the 2013 Speaker’s Forum will be Mara DeMattia, who is researching the collection of the artist Robert Wood. Her presentation will be on Sunday, February 3, at 3:00 P.M. in the sanctuary, followed by a discussion period. A reception will be held in Fessenden Hall after the program. This event is free and open to the public.

Robert Wood, long a singular personality in the Kent community and among area artists, died unexpectedly at the age of 68 on February 5, 2012. His large body of work includes a variety of techniques including oils, watercolors, and computer-generated designs. Ms. DeMattia has begun to research, document, and date all his paintings and to record pertinent biographical information related to each work, such as location and circumstances of the work; teachers, colleagues, and friends who may have been a part of his artistic circle; and any professional exhibits in which he may have been included. The process becomes a fascinating detective project, particularly when works are scattered all over Northeast Ohio and the East Coast. Since coming to Kent, Ms. DeMattia has had a longstanding interest in Mr. Wood’s creative output. Her initial interest was sparked by John Kluth of the FJKluth Art Gallery in Kent. They are working together on an oral history of Mr. Wood as part of a planned biography of the artist.

Ms. DeMattia’s previous work as an archivist began when she was contracted by the Herman Miller Furniture Company of Zeeland, Michigan. Over a 3-year period she organized their extensive photo collection of innovative pieces manufactured since 1917. She documented the pictures and selected images to build a visual history of the company, which is now displayed throughout the company. These photos may also be found through archive codes designed by Ms. DeMattia at Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan.

Ms. DeMattia received a Bachelor of Arts degree in drawing and sculpture from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was a volunteer lecturer in art history at Lorain Community College and a set designer for area community theaters in the mid-1990s. Ms. DeMattia lives in Kent with her husband, Rick, and their three daughters, Rosalyn, Eleanor, and Lillian.

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