During one of our jaunts south into Kentucky, we first stopped in Paris to explore the antique shops located on the main drag. Paris was one more unfortunate small town with what appeared to be a richer past than present. The demise attributable to the location of the interstate highways, lack of well paying jobs, and the lure of one stop shopping afforded by big box retailers. Paris was a logical respite, from our perspective, on the way to Winchester, Kentucky where Hackley Gallery was located before it's move to Berea. Larry Hackley's friendship and reputation as an art scholar, a curator, a mentor to the artists', a picker, a gallerist, ... translated into a constantly evolving selection of artists', art, and sensitively spun tales from his charming Virginia drawl.
The articulated figure dated 1997 and signed WP was by Wilgus Profit. Larry explained that Profit was the nephew of Edgar Tolson and the cousin of Donny Tolson. Larry had recently visited Donny during a time when he was incarcerated; mentally unstable and endangering himself and others. Hackley had returned with this piece and explained that Profit, too was enigmatic. He did not know if his interest in carving would continue.
Does the incised face represent a self portrait? Perhaps; it is reminiscent of familiar Tolson features. We have never met Wilgus Profit but the carving and mechanics of the articulate figure show acumen. Especially fine are the detail in the hands. His family's carving heritage is conveyed, with or without Tolson as his sir name.