Nature has played muse to humans since the first cave dweller scratched a picture of animals on a stone wall. Every artist, however, faces the inevitable challenge of moving beyond the tropes and materials used by those who came before. The recently opened group show “Organic” at Carpenters Workshop Gallery in Paris makes clear that the natural world is still highly fertile ground.
The exhibition features limited-edition furniture and other functional forms by 14 contemporary designers. These pieces feel far removed from the earthy aesthetic that we tend to think of as “organic.” Take the Pirarucu Buffet, by Brazil’s dynamic Humberto and Fernando Campana. Covered with a patchwork of the textured, tawny skin of the pirarucu, a large fish found in the Amazon River, the buffet looks raw, tactile, and real, although elegant in form and meticulously handmade.
Charles Trevelyan, meanwhile, used patinated bronze to make Circumstance (Gold), a luminous table that unexpectedly merges the sinewy flexibility of tree roots with the hardiness of metal. For some designers, fusing the natural and man-made is an opportunity to create eye-catching, visceral contrasts. Rick Owens, for example, pairs one of his go-to motifs—moose antlers—with his minimalist, geometric seating, while Wendell Castle uses concrete to cast incredibly soft-looking biomorphic chairs. But while the natural world is evident in every piece in the show, what stands out first and foremost is each designer’s singular creative vision.
Through August 23 at Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Paris; carpentersworkshopgallery.com
Click here to see works featured in “Organic.”
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