Artist as Author

Categories: Ideas

Our recent visit to the Brooklyn-based studios of Landon Metz and Fernando Mastrangelo had us musing about the many pieces and artists we have procured which exemplify cross-disciplinary practice. Landon’s inaugural show with the world-renowned Sean Kelly Gallery opens September 6 and we’re thrilled to be commissioning Metz and Mastrangelo for the upcoming Conrad Washington D.C., an inspirational destination at the centre of political, cultural, and economic excellence. The graphical nature of our curation for the Conrad keeps in time with modern trends of fluid geometry and material experimentation, staying true to Washington’s contributions to the Colour Field movement. However, the transformations these artists have performed reveal some broader characteristics about the creative processes of artists and designers alike.  

The Third Dimension

When mentioning art, one might first think of drawings, canvas, and paint. Sculptures, installations, and digital media however play an equally significant role in artistic expression; these forms of art have an immediate physical effect on their environments because of the space they occupy. Interestingly, there are certain transformations which artists implement that blend the boundaries between two and three dimensional work. From ceiling frescoes at the Sistine Chapel, to floating glass easels by Lina Bo Bardi, there is a long standing tradition of designers and artists manipulating visual perception to bring 2D art into 3D space. These subversions of our expectations produce environments that surprise and intrigue the audience, heightening the sensation not only of seeing art but moving in, through, and around art. 

Form in Function

Landon’s latest exhibitions at Andersen’s Contemporary and Art Basel were deeper explorations into blurring the lines between different media, transforming his rippled forms on canvas into immersive rooms and soft upholstered furniture — we think the results were nothing short of stunning. With formal simplicity of modern design and reduced ornamentation in modern art, we can certainly draw parallels between the fields of art and design. Undoubtedly, the creative processes of designers and artists influence each other through cultural discourse. This leads to our current climate of practical, honest designs that follow clear graphical rationale. At first glance, you immediately understand Landon’s divans as translating the forms he presents on canvas. However the act of extruding these shapes generates a new understanding. Soft, undulating curves are intimately felt through touch, and their low slung height immediately conveys an invitation to sit. Walking through the seating arrangement, you become aware of the empty space between the divans and simultaneously understand the empty space on canvas. The seats reveal intricacies of the painting, and vice versa. We can project our individual thoughts onto simpler, less representational, forms; imaginarily inhabiting art like you would with furniture. 

Furniture as Art

Understanding that art can become object, the same phenomenon also happens in reverse. Various art fairs now feature collections of vintage design, showing a continued interest
which exceed the lifespan of these design periods. Evidently, icons like Mies’s Barcelona chair and the Eames Lounge chair endure the test of time because they touch on something intrinsically human, relatable, and comfortable. Contemporary space planning often prioritizes open sight lines and spatial flexibility to increase utility  outside the confines of walls. Therefore designers look to powerful furniture pieces that command a room. Taken a step further, artists such as the Haas Brothers transform recognizable furniture into objects of wonder by reimagining specific elements that allude to unexpected forms and narratives. Campana is well known for their iconic series of lounge chairs which consolidate soft objects into nearly unrecognizable forms. Often times, pivotal contemporary furniture can be a fraction the price of a moderately established artist’s work but generate the same conversation and interest. The collection of fine art now includes the collection of furniture as we progress from the curation of galleries to curating our environments.