TODD MERRILL STUDIO EXHIBITING AT DESIGN MIAMI/BASEL, JUNE 12-17, 2011
April 28, Basel, Switzerland—Todd Merrill is pleased to be exhibiting at Design Miami/Basel, June 12 – 17, 2011. Merrill’s booth will feature some exciting recent additions to the Studio Contemporary roster, including Beth Katleman, Gareth Neal, The Yardsale Project, Nicola L., Harry Bertoia and Jan Yoors. Katleman’s “Folly” is a five meter-long porcelain sculpture combines rococo decoration with figures from popular culture. On close inspection, the elegant, Chinoiserie-inspired porcelain pavilions that comprise the landscape of “Folly” are populated with kitschy figures that tell a dark and poetic fairy tale. With roots in design and a powerful visual narrative, it cannot be easily classified as either fine or decorative art. Over the course of her nearly twenty-year career, Katleman has explored the complex relationship between decoration and fine art — “Folly” is the culmination of years of creative work. A catalogue including an essay by leading art critic Anthony Haden-Guest will accompany “Folly”’s presentation at Design Miami/Basel. The first edition of the work was sold to a collector in Australia and the Museum of Arts and Design has expressed interest in the second edition. Katleman will produce no more than twelve editions of “Folly”.
Michael Coffey’s monumental cabinet “Galaxy II” is a tour de force of design and carving. This huge hand-carved 2.43 x 2.43 meter cabinet in American Black Walnut features six 10.5 cm thick sculpted doors inspired by the natural wear of river rocks. The dimensional aspect of the cabinet is striking especially in the deeply carved and curved corners. Coffey is considered one of the greatest living American studio furniture makers practicing today. His work has appeared regularly at major auction sales for nearly a decade. Coffey’s designs continue to evolve as he enters his eighth decade working with remarkable focus and creativity.
Furniture designer Gareth Neal, who is based in London, also draws inspiration from the silhouettes of Rococo style: his furniture undergoes a process of chipping away an exterior form to reveal an interior shape that is reminiscent of French furniture of the 18th century. Using sophisticated techniques including CNC and CAD, Neal creates works that seem at once antique and thoroughly modern.
The Yardsale Project, the UK-based creative partnership of cabinet-maker Ian Spencer and industrial designer Cairn Young specializes in creating unique pieces of furniture that avoid the clichés of woodworking. Spencer and Young frequently choose woods with drastically different hues to create a patchwork effect. They also design chairs that are sculptural and asymmetrical, setting them apart from thousands of years of traditional design.
Jan Yoors was born in Antwerp, Belgium to a family of artists and left home at the age of twelve to live with a Gypsy tribe. After World War II, Yoors enrolled in the School of African and Oriental Studies at London University where he was introduced to the art of tapestry, and he began a lifelong study of tapestry techniques, from Aubusson to Samarkand. In 1950 Yoors settled in New York City, where he set up a studio and constructed a 15-foot vertical loom. His wives, Marianne and Annebert joined him in 1951; they were to collaborate with Yoors in the weaving of all his work. Jan would start by creating a full-size design and selected Persian wool dyed to his exact specifications. Using the design as a guide, Marianne, Annebert, and other skilled artisans would weave the tapestry under his supervision. Yoors’ work will be the subject of a major retrospective at the FelixArt Museum in Belgium in 2012.
Merrill will be representing three exceptional works by Harry Bertoia, two of which were created as part of a music-themed suite of massive works for the Grieg Concert Hall in Bergen, Norway. The Sonambient Sculpture dated 1970 is comprised of 13 bronze rods each of which is finished with a beryllium copper sphere on the top, and the solid bronze base is 36” square. Norway. It is the largest sonambient work of Bertoia’s that is not currently in a public installation. The spheres knock together, causing the sculpture to emit sound. The booth will also feature a massive Double Gong sculpture from 1976. A pair of large gongs, six and eight feet in diameter, are suspended on a twin prong base and can be struck with a custom mallet to produce a sound resembling low thunder.
Showing the continuum of studio work between the centuries, Merrill will exhibit several master works by Paul Evans (1931-1987) including a rare and important sculpted steel Wave-Front Console dated 1971. Other Evans works on view are an “Argente” series desk/console, as well as a two-door sculpted steel console. Evans’ unique approach to furniture-making, a combination of handcraft and technology, presaged the limited-edition art furniture of today. Evans produced every piece entirely by hand, creating some of the most spectacular furniture of the 20th century. As he described in 1975: “Every piece is supervised every step of the way by the artist who conceived it”.
The booth will feature an outstanding Custom Commissioned Armchair by Jack Rogers Hopkins, who represents the top tier of American studio furniture makers from the 1960s and 1970s. Hopkins grew up in Bakersfield, California, and as a young boy learned to make toys in his father’s wood shop, the Sierra Furniture Manufacturing. Co. After World War II, Hopkins returned to California and attended the California College of Arts and Crafts, where he studied painting and drawing and later earned an MFA from the Claremont Colleges. He made hundreds of works, primarily as custom commissions. The last exhibit he participated in was “The Maker’s Hand: American Studio Furniture, 1940–1990” in 2003 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, which has one of Hopkins’ Edition chairs in its permanent collection. The Custom Commissioned armchair clearly reflects the influence of industrial design and aerospace – so prevalent on the West Coast at that time – on the craft movement which saw artists reinterpreting the high tech aesthetic with traditional hand techniques.
Todd Merrill Antiques / 20th Century and Studio Contemporary (www.merrillantiques.com and www.studiocontemporary.com) is known for showing the best of twentieth century and contemporary design. The gallery is located at 65 Bleecker Street, in New York City’s only building by the father of American Modernism, esteemed architect Louis Sullivan. Merrill, a third generation dealer, opened his business in 2000 and quickly became known for a selection of the best of post-war American studio and custom furniture, as well as outstanding European 20th-century furniture and lighting. In November 2008, Rizzoli published Merrill’s book, Modern Americana: Studio Furniture from High Craft to High Glam, the first definitive book on late 20th Century American studio furniture. The same year Merrill launched Studio Contemporary to represent studio artists producing the best contemporary furniture designs.
For more information please contact Sarah Archer at (212) 673-0531 or email: [email protected]