|Project by ColinVW||posted 04-18-2012 10:31 PM||1790 views||1 time favorited||7 comments|
Found chair, sugar pine, vinyl, cotton padding, upholstery tacks
This piece began with a walk through the neighborhood in which I lived, in Baltimore, Maryland. I came across the chair on the left, which had been discarded in the street, waiting to be hauled away to the local landfill. Intrigued by its diminutive nature and weathered seat, I chose to take it home. I lived with the chair for some time, utilizing its inherent function (furniture is a luxury for a college student). Over the coming months I began to wonder about the origins of the chair, for the only indication of its provenance was a marking on the underside of the seat reading NEW YORK, NEW YORK. Upon examining the tool marks I surmised the chair must have been a product of mass production, indicated by the shortcuts taken in terms of materials, joinery, finish and the lack of any layout marks or maker’s initials. From this examination I posed a question to myself (being new to woodworking and intrigued by the possibilities of fabrication), how can one come to understand an object through direct interaction? How can the object guide its own making rather than through the use of instructional texts and diagrams? I wondered if it were possible for myself to replicate this chair, an object of mass production, through the use of hand tools and without the aid of the machine. With little knowledge of woodworking, wood technology or the proper use of materials, I endeavored to simply recreate the found chair as accurately as I possibly could, with the exception of finish. I chose to leave the sugar pine bare, as an indication of the rawness of my investigation, a signifier of difference between the found and worn, the barely initiated, the newborn. The image above documents the product of my investigation, shown at Gallery 405 in Baltimore. The two chairs lean back to rest upon each other’s back posts, an indication of their reliance upon one another as master and the master’s copy. This orientation also renders both chairs mute, negating original function and imparting their new function as sculptural objects which stimulate the mind rather than relax the body.