Saturday, September 20, 2014

Inspiration: Fred Sandback

This week, I took the time to visit the Contemporary Design gallery at the IMA.  This was my first time in the newly expanded gallery and it was great to see the different styles of furniture from the last 60 years.  And while I could take the time in this post to talk about all of the pieces that inspire me, I'm not going to.  I will write about specific pieces in the future, but for now, I want to talk about an artist who has a single piece of sculpture on display at the IMA (there used to be four pieces).  That artist is Fred Sandback.  His sculptures are deceptively simple, being constructed of simple pieces of string that are suspended and stretched throughout a space.

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The beauty of Sandback's art is the ability he has to visually make a three-dimensional object with a minimal number of lines.  These lines are specifically placed to take up a space in a particular way.

Sandback has always been an inspiration to me from an art standpoint.  On this trip to the IMA however, his work spoke to me in terms of furniture design.  A strange corollary? Maybe.  But here's what Sandback's art makes me think: No matter what you are making, and maybe especially if what you're making is furniture, you need to be 100% meaningful in how you use the space.  You need to know how your piece is going to look in a room.  This doesn't mean that you need to design an entire room around your piece of furniture, but you need to be aware of what it might look like by itself or in a group.  You also need to know what your piece is going to look like from every angle.  So, while Sandback's art might not be referential to a specific type of furniture, its use of space is the thing that I am taking away from it.

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Planning

The second week has come and gone. This was a short week thanks to Labor Day, but it didn't feel short due to the amount of reading that was due for Visual Culture (which had to be read on a computer screen). I realize the potential importance of this class, but there is something about it, and maybe it's just the language the book's author uses, that bugs me. I have spent the greater part of the last 15 years arguing against the elitism that is all too common in the art world. There are aspects of this class that appear to meet to be a strengthening of this attitude. And I don't like that. In my opinion, art should be accessible to the public and not require long, drawn out analysis to not only understand it but to also understand what it means "to understand". We've only had 2 classes though, so I'm willing to give the class the benefit of he doubt.

After more than 19 sketches, I finally decided on the first piece of furniture that I will be making. And though I have been told that keeping this first piece simple is for the best, I still feel like my design should be something more in a design sense. I am very attached to the artistic meaning behind it though, so I guess I will just have to make sure my craftsmanship is as flawless as possible. I've finished the majority of my model, with just some small elements left that will help make it more fleshed out.