One Sculptural Furniture

Annette Cock, Yvette Dumergue, Kathy Fox Stairwell Gallery, The Public Office, Melbourne

As one of the exhibitions in the Visual Art section of The Melbourne International Festival the artist group ONE have created sculptural furniture that explores the design principles of gradation and movement. The exhibition explores furniture and the context in which functional objects can be developed and displayed.

Annette Cock, Yvette Dumergue and Kathy Fox have developed their furniture pieces in a highly individualistic and sculptural manner so that the finished products function both as furniture and as objects to be aesthetically admired. As previous exhibitors at the annual Fringe Furniture show in Melbourne which places a large emphasis on the presentation of furniture as sculpture these artists have decided to take the idea one step further. They do this by applying design principles to their work which play on the idea of movement both in the natural environment that the furniture refers to and the constructed environment within which the furniture performs its function.

In the creation of her work, furniture artist Annette Cock focuses mainly on the elements and principles of patterns in nature and then applies these to sculptural design principles. Her work entitled H201 & H202 is a foyer entrance screen which is comprised of panels of timber all of the same width that have been warped into a uniform wave formation. The timber has been bent through techniques of layering and of pressing. In using this sculptural technique the artist has maintained an understanding and empathy toward the timber medium and towards the disciplines of design. The use of repetition in her work creates parallels between the designed aesthetic and of nature by showing how it can occur in both instances.

The works of Kathy Fox are of a progressive nature, as they apply to the principles of movement within the series of furniture that she has created. Fox utilises the ellipse as the primary shape from which to begin most of her furniture. The movement that occurs within this series is the transformation of the primary ellipse shape into a number of different furniture pieces. The first form in the sequence of furniture named Spark is an upholstered domed design made for use as a footrest or low seat. The elliptical shape is developed further in the creation of larger upholstered seats entitled Swoon and Spin and then repeated in the creation of sensually covered swings and glowing acrylic lights.

The Public Office's unique Stairwell Gallery, comprised of staircases and platforms, creates a context that further enhances the exploration of the ideas that these artists propose. An example of this can be seen in the work of Yvette Dumergue who integrates principles of sculptural form with principles of function and movement.

La Postrophe by Dumergue is a series of very abstract stools that when turned on their side resemble an apostrophe and as they sit casually create the illusion of breaking waves in perceptual motion. Dumergue makes a play on these forms by using the stairwell to accentuate the illusion of movement even further. By placing a La Postrophe on each stair in a progression upward it appears that these apostrophes are making their way toward the top of the stairwell.

Issit Lounge by Dumergue is another form that has been designed as much for aesthetic reasons as for seating comfort. This chair has been created with reference to El Lissitsky's Free Floating Spiral. The artist has reapplied this concept to the seat form so that the chair appears to be representative of the intellectual and visual theories of deconstructed form.

The piece in this exhibition that dissolves the distinction between sculpture, furniture and nature are the Nogu Lights by Annette Cock. These glowing rocks are reminiscent of prayer rocks from the grounds of Japanese monasteries and are a sculptural form which can be used to display the energy of nature in its most base form.

These three artists have cleverly blurred the distinction between the use of furniture for its function and the admiration of furniture as sculpture. They have drawn from the constructed as well as the organic environment exploring materials, form and movement, and in doing so have made some very poignant aesthetic and conceptual statements about the objects we surround ourselves with.

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