Tag Archive | Biomorphic

Eye on Design: Puff and Stuff Chair By Chris Schanck

puff and stuff chair by chris chance photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

What caught my eye immediately on flyers for the 2019 edition of The Salon Art + Design show was the included image of a vibrant Pink version of Chris Schanck’s Puff and Stuff Chair (2019). With it its quilted, glossy velvet upholstery and biomorphic sculptural base comprised of steel, aluminum, polystyrene, polyuria, aluminum foil and resin, the chair manages to look both organic and highly stylized simultaneously. The Pink Puff and Stuff Chair became my number-one-must-see item at the fair, but sadly my dream was not fully realized.

firedman benda booth photo by fail worley
Puff and Stuff Chair Installation View

Friedman Benda, who represent the designer, chose to display Puff and Stuff only in a Sage Green. I was disappointed, sure; but that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to write about the chair. Because, look at how awesome it is.

puff and stuff chair side detail photo by gail worley

It looks like the walls of a futuristic space cave — and please note that no two are alike. These chairs and the accompanying peach-hued pedestal table are inspired by Schanck’s 2018 solo exhibit at Friedman Benda entitled Unhomely, which focused on the designer’s acclaimed sculptural approach.

orange pedestal table detail photo by gail worley

Unhomely featured 15 works with independent, stand-alone narratives woven into an otherworldly landscape. Synthesizing premeditation and spontaneity, Schanck’s highly individualized, low-tech, idiosyncratic technique, Alufoil (in which industrial and discarded materials are sculpted, covered in aluminum foil and then sealed with resin) was conceived in 2011 during his MFA studies. The process begins with Schanck’s imaginative drawings and models, which are then executed by a team of artists and collaborators apprenticed in his Alufoil method.

Installation view photo by gail worley

Hybrids of sculpture and furniture, Schanck’s bold constructions blend biomorphic forms with elaborately crafted symbolism. These assemblages draw from a wide range of influences ranging from Brutalist and Art Deco architecture to ancient Egyptian, Anatolian and Aztec iconography. Skirting the line between refinement and camp, Schanck’s figurative, at times anatomical, creations reference science fiction films and conjure up visions of ancient aliens, hidden cavernous chambers, and monolithic space operas.

2 puff and stuff chairs photo by gail worley

Despite overt references to fantasy and meta-fiction, Schanck’s assemblages are grounded in the reality of humanity’s relentless  inventiveness. “In my work,” the Detroit native admits, “I take inspiration from the people and forms around me and dip them into a futuristic skin.”

Photographed in the booth for Friedman Benda at the Salon Art + Design 2019 in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Kurt Seligmann, Magnetic Mountain

Magnetic Mountain
Photo By Gail

After Kurt Seligmann (19001962) settled in Paris, his sinister, biomorphic compositions gained the attention of Andre Breton, who invited him to join the Surrealist group in 1937. With the outbreak of World War II, Seligmann became the first Surrealist to arrive in New York, and he was instrumental in the emigration of most of the movement’s leading figures. Transformed by contact with new cultures, Seligmann’s work continued to evolve, and as the Surrealist’s acknowledged expert on magic, he infused his paintings with mythology and esotericism. Indeed, the year he made this work, Magnetic Mountain (1948) he published The Mirror of Magic, a history of the occult. The winding forms and mystical quality of this canvas would influence a new generation of American artists, including his student, Robert Motherswell.

Photographed in the Art Institute Chicago

Hashimoto Contemporary Gallery Presents Dan Lam’s Delicious Monster

Dan Lam Delicious Monster
All Photos By Gail

While my back was turned, Spoke Art Gallery suddenly became Hashimoto Contemporary Gallery. I understand that this involved a simple name change, and that the gallery is being run by the same people, which is a relief, because Spoke/Hashimoto is walking distance from my apartment, and it always has pretty cool art! Example: their latest exhibit is Delicious Monster, a solo exhibition by Dallas-based artist Dan Lam, who is a lady. Delicious Monster is Dan’s fist solo exhibition at the gallery.

Dan Lam Delicious Monster

Dan Lam is known for her biomorphic sculptures — which she often paints in vibrant, fluorescent colors — that appear to ooze and drip from the shelves on which they perch. These sculptures are made from quick-drying foam, and so they are deceptively light weight, despite appearing to be very heavy.

Dan Lam Delicious Monster

For Delicious Monster, the artist continues to explore opposing themes of the beautiful and repulsive,  and how often these two different sentiments can come from within the same source. With this in mind, the new sculptures explore color and form while experimenting with new materials and layering processes.

Dan Lam Delicious Monster

Dan Lam Delicious Monster Detail

To me, these layered sculptures recall exotic undersea coral, but Dan was actually inspired by the Monstera Deliciosa fruit, whose scientific name literally means ‘delicious monster.’ Resembling an ear of corn with a green exterior, this hexagon patterned fruit is sweet, delicious and tropical, yet it can cause severe throat and skin irritation if eaten before it has fully ripened.

Dan Lam Delicious Monster

Fascinated by the fruit’s tempting contradictions, the works in Delicious Monster explore this relatable concept: patience is often tested by temptation, and the excitement and desire to have an experience before the appropriate moment can often result in dangerous consequences. The sculptures above show examples of a series within the exhibit where these forms appear to be covered in beads or pearls. Dan creates the look by affixing “half beads” to the exterior of the form before paint is applied.

Dan Lam Delicious Monster

Dan Lam Delicious Monster

Exploring a variety of textures, from the shimmering iridescent to pointed spikes, Dan’s sculptures appear almost lifelike, as if they were living organisms from a psychedelic universe. Simultaneously alluring and unsettling, their textures, candy colored hues and organic shapes draw the viewer in, tempting you to touch them and enter their alternate universe.

Please enjoy a few more photos from the show:

Dan Lam Delicious Monster Installation View

Dan Lam Delicious Monster

The gallery installed a ‘Selfie-Wall,’ whose surface emulates the texture of one of Dan’s spiked forms. I was not present at the opening reception, but I can imagine that this wall was very popular!

Dan Lam Delicious Monster

She also created these miniature sculptures for the gallery’s reception desk Adorable.

Dan Lam Delicious Monster

Dan Lam Delicious Monster

Dan Lam’s  Delicious Monster Will be on Exhibit Through Saturday, May 25th, 2019 at Hashimoto Contemporary New York (Formerly Spoke Art), Located at 210 Rivington Street (between Pitt & Ridge). Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Dan Lam Delicious Monster Installation View

Dan Lam Delicious Monster Installation View

Dan Lam Delicious Monster

Dan Lam Delicious Monster

Recent Terrestrials by Alexander Ross at David Nolan Gallery

Alexander Ross
All Photos By Gail

On last week’s ambitious Art Crawl, Geoffrey and I hit up David Nolan Gallery as our first stop of the evening and were extremely charmed by Recent Terrestrials, an exhibition of new work by Alexander Ross. Bringing together a series of large-scale paintings and a group of smaller drawings, the exhibition signifies a variety of recent formal and thematic innovations for the artist.

Alexander Ross
The Surface of the Above, Untitled, Painting is Completely Flat, Despite its Multidimensional Appearance

Ross is best known for his biomorphic imagery, wherein modeled forms suggest molecular ecosystems as viewed through a microscope, or surreal landscapes inspired by Max Ernst. In recent years, the artist has developed a distinctive color palette that includes occasional flashes of red and yellow emerging within multiple shades of green. Ross’s characteristic handling of paint – through which shapes are given dimensionality in incremental bands of shading – might suggest a photorealistic endeavor. However, viewed as a whole, his compositions can be understood more accurately as abstractions, where the interplay of color and form, highlight and shadow become the focus.

Alexander Ross

Alexander Ross

With Recent Terrestrials, Ross redirects his emphasis toward imagery recalling “grotesques,” a style of architectural ornament found throughout Europe that incorporates ugly or playfully contorted faces.  I believe they are also called Gargoyles, but Ross’s painted figures remind me of the ‘claymation’ technique used in animated films best exemplified the Gumby franchise. These sneering faces also have a political dimension, conveying the artist’s restlessness in response to what he perceives to be disquieting geological and social changes in civil life.

Alexander Ross

Another group of paintings finds the artist un-mounted from his established vantage point, in which a clear blue sky serves as a neutral backdrop. Radically shifting this familiar perspective, a number of Ross’s new works comprise intricately worked lattices or cellular matrices, appearing both luminous and translucent. In an alternative reading, these can also be seen as cross-sections of the earth where unusual concave forms suggest subterranean excavations.

Alexander Ross

Recent Terrestrials by Alexander Ross will be on Exhibit Through December 6th, 2014 at David Nolan Gallery, Located a 527 West 29th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District. House are Tuesday – Saturday from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

Recent Terrestrials Signage