Scratching The Surface
|by Michael Hosaluk
Guild Publishing: 2002
Hardback, 128 pp., $35.00
Art furniture? Well, yes. Jon Brooks has produced a coyote chair that is more sculpture than chair, though it is certainly functional. Craig Nutt fashions vegetable furniture, carved and painted as carrots and celery stalks with beautiful leather upholstery. Richard Ford displays a bureau and shelf unit arched wildly to one side as if caught jazz dancing. And John Cederquist, of course, is a three dimensional master of illusion with his painted furniture.
Tom Loesser, Michael Cullen, Bonnie Bishoff and JM Syron, Gary Knox Bennett and his infamous nail cabinet, Judy Kensley McKie, Wendell Castle, Alphonse Mattia, and Kristina Madsen are only a few of the major names whose works are presented here. Short quotes by each of the designer/makers offer insights into the philosophies that underlie their creations, which range from sculpture and turnings to decorative cabinets and chests of drawers.
Surface decoration is the common theme that runs throughout this collection of work. Most of these pieces are heavily textured or painted. All go beyond the appreciation of wood to emphasize decorative techniques and effects. Some are very subtle, some are stunning in their initial impression, and some are whimsical or even comical.
This book is a wonderful glimpse into how our leading furniture designers follow their playful imaginations to the far reaches of Oz. It's fun, it's wild, and much of it is unquestionably beautiful and inspiring.
. . . Barb Siddiqui