Todd Merrill Studio Contemporary, Joseph Walsh Enignum II Table, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TODD MERRILL TO EXHIBIT AT DESIGN MIAMI, DECEMBER 1-5, 2010
December 1, 2010, Miami Beach, FL—Todd Merrill Antiques/20th Century and Studio Contemporary will present “Studio Furniture Masters” at Design Miami, December 1-5. Merrill has curated an outstanding group exhibition showing the continuum of studio furniture from the great American post-war designers, including Jack Rodgers Hopkins, Paul Evans, Phillip Lloyd Powell and Michael Coffey, whose long career now spans two centuries, and Joseph Walsh, who is arguably one of the most important young furniture designers of the 21st Century. The emphasis of “Studio Furniture Masters” is on cutting edge designs that have been created from inception to completion by the hand of the artist.
To enhance and substantiate this fully drawn presentation showcasing the power and visual scope of hand-made studio design Merrill will be exhibiting a selection of important mid-20th Century works by James Mont, Neal Small and contemporary ceramics by Peter Lane, Peter Schlesinger and Sara Flynn, as well as vintage Elaine Katzer.
Born in 1928 and raised in New York City, Michael Coffey has spent his career working in rural Vermont and Massachusetts. He is a self-taught artist who now teaches master classes at the graduate level in furniture making. Coffey turned his attention to furniture design as a full time artisan in the early 1970’s, and has been producing outstandingly designed and crafted furniture for over forty years. Coffey, whose organic and progressive designs were first inspired by the natural forms of river rocks and trees, is considered one of the greatest living furniture makers practicing today. His work has appeared regularly at major auction sales for nearly a decade and he was recently the subject of a career retrospective exhibition at Sebastian & Barquet, New York. Coffey’s designs continue to evolve as he enters his eighth decade.
Paul Evans (1931-1987) was a natural sculptor thwarted by a contradictory drive to be a deal-making entrepreneur. In fact, his best pieces exhibit a tension between his personal vision as an artist and his instinct for new looks and techniques. His unique approach to furniture making, a combination of handcraft wedded with technology, presaged the limited edition art furniture of today. With his early creative partner, Phillip Lloyd Powell, Evans produced every piece entirely by hand, creating some of the most spectacular furniture of the 20th century. More particularly, his relationship with the Directional Furniture company set a unique standard for creative manufacture, as he described so poignantly in a brochure of 1975: “Every piece is supervised every step of the way by the artist who conceived it”.
Jack Rogers Hopkins (1920-2006) was initially inspired by the sensual forms created on the potter’s wheel. Hopkins’ work contains few straights lines, sharp angles, or even edges, and his futuristic designs made him a leading figure in the California design scene of the 1960s and ‘70s. He was a pioneer in stack lamination, and working exclusively with this method for furniture design, he eliminated the need for traditional joinery. As a studio craftsman and university professor, Hopkins considered himself “a sculptor-designer” finding the term “artist” too generic. Working by himself, without a studio, Hopkins produced relatively few pieces making his work rare and highly sought after by collectors.
Phillip Lloyd Powell (1919-2008) was a carefree artist who moved to New Hope, Pennsylvania, a hub of creativity in the 1950s, to produce intricately crafted studio works, and to form a partnership with Paul Evans that would become the Evans-Powell Studio. Powell worked primarily in sinuous wood and along with Evans produced furniture that was highly attuned to the free-wheeling exploratory mood of the 1960’s and ‘70s. Powell’s artistic spirit was often expressed in his work, which was loose and spontaneous, and included “found objects” from his global travels. Powell embodied the spirit of the 1960s and never wanted to be in business — the exact opposite of Paul Evans. He considered himself a “drop-out”, and meeting deadlines never worked for him. Instead, he continued to follow his inner muse to produce fantastical unique furniture into his late eighties at his own direction.
Joseph Walsh, born in 1979, established his studio in 1999 in County Cork, Ireland. He began his experimentation in furniture making at age 12, and though self-taught, has traveled extensively to learn from the workshops of other contemporary designers. Walsh’s work is guided primarily by a sensitive use of materials, and purity in structure and form. The extraordinary craftsmanship of Joseph’s work has been widely recognized and resulted in its inclusion in numerous collections and exhibitions, and has received the critical attention of curators and scholars throughout the world. Walsh represents the leading edge of studio furniture design today, his peers are few and his designs are on a par with any of the art furniture designers of this decade. He crafts each piece by hand, pushing the limits of his material and expanding the definition of what a piece of wood furniture can be.
Todd Merrill Antiques / 20th Century and Studio Contemporary (www.merrillantiques.com and www.studiocontemporary.com) 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 the 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]