Constructed Identity: Furniture as a Stand-in

Thursday, June 14, 2018
12:15 PM -  1:00 PM

Trained in furniture and sculpture, for several years, I considered my mind and practice
to be divided. I felt by the careful precision and possibility of expertise with diligent practice
available in woodworking, and the experimentation and non-media specificity offered by
sculpture. For my presentation, I would like to elaborate on how the combination of the two has
fueled a divergent narrative, perhaps atypical to many furniture makers. My process currently
combines research focuses in vulnerability and resilience with structures that are built to
support or contain, most often temporary, or using whatever resources are available, such as
shanty towns, coal mine tipples, and scaffolding. I use the furniture form, relating to everyday
use and intimacy, to build props, for the body, about the body, or as stand ins for the body.
Many pieces begin as sketches of vanities, tables, chairs, cabinets, but through a reactive
process of trial and error and improvisations, often evolve into forms that are less outright
functional. Much of the narrative I explore includes a personal history of coping with loss,
learning, and searching for answers so that the pieces have a kind of somber yet playful tone to
them with dark colors but thin, dynamic lines that illustrate a journey. I would like to share my
journey from that point to what I’ve been working on recently. My furniture-ish forms have
moved from outright sculpture to more functional pieces. Flat-packed, they directly reference
trends in nomadic and easy-to-assemble furniture that also subverts trends of upcylcing or
reuse of material. For instance, a “flat-packed” coffee table, made to roll-up and be carried in a
backpack or other medium-sized bag, while linear with collapsible appendages, the feet are cast
in concrete.