TODD MERRILL STUDIO TO EXHIBIT AT THE WINTER ANTIQUES SHOW 2016
The Park Avenue Armory, New York, January 21 – 31, 2016
By: Anya Firestone
New York, NY—Todd Merrill Studio is pleased to announce that it will be participating at the Winter Antiques Show at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. The gallery will usher in a new façade of the fair by pioneering an exhibition of historically inspired, contemporary works by museum-represented living artists. While the works shown are definitive of the 21st century, implementing new techniques and technologies, their aesthetic references to past forms—from ancient Roman glass to English Georgian design—resonate visually and conceptually with the pieces across the fair, reawakening interest in the antique and historic while showcasing today’s innovations across art and design.
Following Gareth Neal’s George III (permanent collection, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London) and Five Drawer George (“Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft and Design”, Museum of Art and Design, New York, 2013) the gallery will debut Big George, the artist’s latest and most monumental work to date. A unique oak chest-on-chest, Big George pays homage to Georgian furniture through unprecedented, new material-driven techniques. Beneath the piece’s perfectly geometrical oak striations, curved forms reminiscent of an 18th century chest are revealed as light hits the piece. Neal has artfully combined technical modes of 3D computer drawing and CNC processes with the intricacy of professional craftsmanship and hand-carving techniques. The result: aesthetic equilibrium between old and new, between tradition and technology.
The gallery will also debut Beth Katleman’s newest work, Fire and Ice, a unique pair of porcelain mirrors inspired by Chinese Chippendale girandoles. Combining rococo opulence with a dose of contemporary pop culture, Katleman juxtaposes aristocratic sources with elements that are decidedly low-brow. The porcelain figures are hand-cast in porcelain from the artist’s collection of flea-market trinkets; yet while the found objects bring their own histories, when they are juxtaposed, the shifts in scale add a surreal, otherworldly quality to the narrative. Pastoral scenes dissolve into a dark fairy tale. Katleman’s signature dark humor comes through, creating tableaux that are seductive, playful, and unsettling.
Katleman’s work has been exhibited and resides in prestigious private and public collections worldwide, including the M.H. De Young Museum (San Francisco) The Museum of Art and Design (New York), The House of Christian Dior (Hong Kong and London Flagships), and The Nike Collection (Portland), among others. Her porcelain wall installation Hostile Nature will be exhibited at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in 2016 during the 50th annual NCECA conference in Kansas City, and she is currently creating an installation for the permanent collection of a prominent American museum.
Furthering the contemporary commentary on the tradition of luxury porcelain, the gallery will debut Molly Hatch’s newest plate painting installation, Myrmidon, based off of historic blue and white porcelain jars. Composed of 63 hand-thrown porcelain plates, each round surface serves as a canvas for the artist’s abstract brush strokes; together, the plates reveal the entirety of a richly painted vase amidst a deconstructed historic pattern rendered in rich blues and 11 karat gold. Recently, Hatch’s two monumental installations, Physic Garden and Caughley Landscape, were commissioned and installed in the High Museum of Art’s permanent collection (2015). Hatch’s work also resides in other public and private collections worldwide, including The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, The Philadelphia Art Alliance, Greenwich House Pottery, The Bellevue Art Museum, and The John Michael Kohler Art Center (Sheboygan), among others.
As Hatch reinvents traditions with antique vases, artist Shari Mendelson similarly takes the vessel as subject matter, creating sculptures inspired by ancient ceramic, glass, and metal artifacts. Made from found plastic bottles, gum wrappers, hot glue, and acrylic, Mendelson’s newest collection of handmade objects are layered, drippy, whimsical forms that serve as unique, “contemporary relics”. At first glance, her work may look like the glass or ceramic upon which it is modeled, yet upon closer inspection a logo, recycling stamp, or bottle expiration date reveals its actual material. Using recycled trash to make works that reference elegant objects of the past offers Mendelson a space to playfully explore the transformation of form and material while reflecting on issues of history and culture.
Mendelson’s vessels reside in various museums, including The Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum (New York), The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Museum of Old and New Art. This month, Mendelson’s newest sculpture commissioned by the RISD Museum entered its permanent collection.
The gallery will also display works that push historic materials, such as textile and metals, in new, modern directions. The tapestry, a design tradition that flourished in the 16th century, and specifically in Belgium experienced a reawakening in the 1950s when Belgian artist Jan Yoors re-approached the tradition of with bold colors, abstract forms, and painterly plays of negative space. Today, his unique tapestries reside across museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Museum of Arts and Design, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian Institution’s American Art Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. One of the most seminal artists in textile of the 20th century Yoors has had close to a dozen solo exhibitions throughout Europe and the United States in the past five years, including two recent retrospectives at the Baker Museum (Naples) and the FeliXart Museum (Brussels).
Todd Merrill Studio will also present a rare 1973 Paul Evans Cityscape II Faceted Mirrored Console. The piece comes with direct museum provenance having just been featured at the James A. Michener Museum and The Cranbrook Art Museum in the 2014 exhibition “Paul Evans: Crossing Boundaries and Crafting Modernism”. The bright chromed steel console is a unique design that reflects and emits light in a glistening structure evocative of the era in which it was made. Each piece from this series was made by hand, with each section placed and polished one at a time. Lastly, a pair of hand-welded studio chairs by Evans will be exhibited, showcasing the artist’s groundbreaking appropriations of metal work.
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