TWIRLS, SWIRLS, AND WHIRLS: Fluidity at the New York Collective Design Fair

TWIRLS, SWIRLS, AND WHIRLS: Fluidity at the New York Collective Design Fair

  |   Tips, Tricks and Insights

Written for Art, Antiques and Design (By Gail Green)

This past Thursday marked the opening of the New York City Collective Design Fair. With furniture, accessories, jewelry, both antique and modern, the show illustrated its great diversity of offerings. The exhibition hall, while somewhat rough in appearance, presented several artists that were anything but… Two booths, in particular, stood out: Joern Lohmann’s Gallery display and Joseph Walsh’s corner exhibit.

There are several commonalities between the two artists represented here. Joseph Walsh, the eponymous owner of his atelier, and Merete Rasmussen, represented by Lohmann, are creators of modern organicism. That is, the flowing fluidity of their work fits well within the context of urban modernity’s love of grids. The sensual, curvaceous lines are sculptural. For Rasmussen, it is sculpture – for wall and table display. For Walsh, sculpture takes the form of furniture, where art defies the specificity of one art form, eliding into another. And, while the former sculptor incorporates a lot more color into her art, the later takes wood to new levels – bending, binding, and bridging the material into a whole other form.

Rasmussen defines her work in it relationship to space. “My shapes can represent an idea of a captured movement, a a flowing form stretching or curling around itself, or the idea can derive from repeated natural forms of even complex mathematical constructions,” she observes. Like musical notes mathematically precisioned, the curves of her works are completely harmonious. They are, indeed, seductive in bringing the observer into her finely woven web of curvilinear explorations. We are mesmerized by their grace and agility. And, then, excited by the boldness of her color, we delight in her magic. The real subtlety of her work comes in the form of the void that is created as these constructions cut through space, the in-between areas into which we are held captive. Here, our imaginations languish in the neverending threads of her story, as though in complete revery and delight.

Bridging the idea of revery to repose are Joseph Walsh’s creations. Like the well woven tapestry, this artist weaves function into form. Quite a conceptual furniture maker, Walsh loves to experiment with the intellectual qualities of wood. Exploring and stretching its boundaries, the artist carves wood into unusual, yet recognizable forms.

The curvilinear forms of his beds, tables, and chairs bring form and function to new levels. As they whirl, so do those who interact with his pieces. The bending wood swirls into a lattice work of imaginative form. Engaging the diner or sleeper, each creative piece works through the participant, creating a harmonic duet. The organic quality of Walsh’s work is appropriately called “Enignum.” As the artist notes, “In the Enignum series of work, I have stripped wood into thin layers, manipulating and reconstructing them into free form compositions. I then shape through these layers to reveal not only the honesty of the structure but the sculpted for which is a unique collaboration of man and material.” And, there is much boldness. The sweeping lines are highly forceful and magnanimous in their expression. Never intrusive, the furniture is quite like a ball gown, exhibiting largesse of form and grace. They are quietly strong.

Fluidity of form and imagination are consummate in the works of both Rasmussen and Walsh. Their subtle and bold expressions offer delightful and harmonic lyricism in a sometimes dissonant context. Creating twirls, whirls, and swirls, these artists achieve a bountiful beauty.


8 – 11 May, 2014


Skylight at Moynihan Station
360 West 33rd Street, New York, NY 10001
Between 8th and 9th Avenues


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