Garry Knox Bennett: Lights Out
See for Yourself: Mirrors by Studio Furniture Makers
Nov 9 – Dec 15 at Gallery NAGA
Garry Knox Bennett: Lights Out and See For Yourself: Mirrors by Studio Furniture Makers runs from November 9 through December 15. A reception for the artists and the public will be held at the gallery on Friday, November 9 from 6 to 8 pm.
After threatening that his previous two shows on the east coast would be his last, Garry Knox Bennett has agreed to do his final exhibition at Gallery NAGA.
Widely acknowledged as a master in the world of furniture making, Garry Knox Bennett has had dozens of traveling retrospectives, has taught and lectured extensively and has had his work represented in major museums. His place in the lexicon of studio furniture is firmly established.
His recent work, the focus of his show at NAGA, centers around lamps he’s made in the last five years. Working smaller and more slowly, the 84- year -old continues to explore complex relationships between sculptural forms. Each lamp is proof that a skilled maker, such as Bennett, can achieve concise and exciting gems in small configurations.
Each lamp is an exercise in geometry. Square bases become the form onto which round spheres rest, while a straight back produces a dome lamp head. Elemental, industrial, but also art deco, the lamps are made mostly of metal and primary colors of wood. One exception is Bennett’s Halo, a rectangular lamp whose glow is produced from light emerging from a piece of Lucite attached to the back; an unconventional approach befitting a furniture maker who never plays by the rules.
See for Yourself: Mirrors by Studio Furniture Makers assembles eight artists– Andy Buck, Hank Gilpin, Jenna Goldberg, Reed Hansuld, Yuri Kobayashi, Judy Kensley McKie, Bart Niswonger, and Jay Stanger– working with wood in markedly different ways. Each was asked to produce a mirror specifically for this exhibition but given little to no requirements. This open-ended guideline led to a variety of techniques and outcomes working within the idea of reflection.
Probably the most traditional approach to the form is the mirror made by Hank Gilpin. What isn’t instantly obvious until further inspection is Gilpin’s love of wood in all its varieties: he loves cast-offs—wood that others wouldn’t touch due to idiosyncratic hiccups in the surface or simply the personality of the wood. Bart Niswonger creates a set of parameters, which in turn instructs a CNC, computer numeric control router, to carve the surround of the mirror in random patterns. He then paints the surface using a stain so that the grain of the wood is visible. Judy Kensley McKie carves botanical imagery directly into the surface of the wood and then uses milkpaint to highlight the contours. All the mirrors are worth a visit – come see for yourself.