The work of some of the most prominent studio furniture makers
in the United States will be shown in a group exhibition of handmade
furniture from March 5 through March 27, 2010 at Gallery NAGA
The show is being mounted as a benefit for the North Bennet Street School in
Boston's North End. One of the oldest and best-known crafts
training schools in the country, the school is celebrating its 125th
anniversary this year. The school's philanthropist founders began offering
woodworking and cabinet making training programs in the 1880's as a way for
immigrants from Europe to begin earning a livelihood in their adopted
"For North Bennet: A Benefit Exhibition of Studio Furniture" will feature
the work of 28 makers from across the country, including such established
and highly collectible American furniture makers as Garry Knox Bennet, Hank
Gilpin, Judy McKie, Jere Osgood, Tommy Simpson and Rosanne Somerson. The
work of lesser-known but rising stars -- Bart Niswonger and Ben Fleis among
them -- will also be included.
In an unprecedented gesture of financial support by a commercial gallery and
its artists, half the purchase price of every exhibition piece sold will be
donated to support the school's crafts training programs.
The idea for the group show grew out of a series of conversations between
Galley NAGA director Arthur Dion and the school's president Miguel
Gomez-Ibanez, himself an accomplished furniture maker, and whose work is
included in the show.
Dion had long been aware of North Bennet Street School's reputation as a
training institution, and of its role in maintaining high standards in
furniture making and cabinetry. He put a call out to furniture makers from
past NAGA shows and to others producing similar, high-caliber work. The
concept of a benefit show for the school was enthusiastically embraced.
The Gallery NAGA show is one of the highlights of the school's yearlong
celebration. "We're deeply honored to be recognized by a gallery and a
community of artists that share the school's commitment to superb
craftsmanship," said Gomez-Ibanez.
The exhibition's 27 objects -- seating, tables, chests, cabinets and wall
pieces -- reflect current thinking about the very idea of "furniture" both
as functional object and as art form. Some makers have drawn their
inspiration from traditional styles and techniques; others bring a modern
and, at times, whimsical viewpoint to their work.
A reverence for wood is apparent in the show, as one might expect. But
there are the unexpected materials, too - plaster, graphite, polymer resin,
limestone, steel and leather.
The show's disparate work has a few things in common, however. The level of
craftsmanship and professionalism is uniformly high. And, taken together,
the work conveys an intriguing and valid snapshot of the current state of
the studio furniture movement in America.
The show's many sought-after and collectible artists include California
furniture maker Garry Knox Bennett, best known for his chairs and use of
conventional woods and unusual materials such as plywood, aluminum, steel,
and plastics. His Nautilus Table with Shelf uses a thin slice of an actual
nautilus shell set in epoxy as surface decoration. (Note: hi-rez jpg photo
Judy Kensley McKie's work is infused with a lively awareness of modernist
and contemporary art and also of the approaches to design to be found in
indigenous cultures throughout the world. Her Bird Table's flat top is the
silhouette of an avian body and wings, with a head that rises quizzically.
(Note: hi-rez jpg photo available)
Jon Brooks makes use of found materials from his house and the surrounding
New Hampshire woods to create his playful furniture and sculpture. His
Analtar Table III stands on nine undulating legs fashioned from found tree
branches that are decorated with acrylic, pastel and colored pencil.
Rosanne Somerson adds gesture, caprice and mystery to classic furniture
forms, transforming exotic woods into intimate and evocative functional
objects. Her three legged Small Table with Leaves offers leaf-shaped
surfaces of rift white oak and limestone. (Note: hi-rez jpg photo
Also in the show is the work of Dale Broholm, John Eric Byers, Mark Del
Guidice, John Dunningan, Thomas Hucker, Silas Kopf, John Marcoux, Todd
Partridge, Timothy Philbrick, Mitch Ryerson, James Schriber, Jay Stanger,
J.M. Syron and Bonnie Bishoff, Tim Wells, Steve Whittlesey, Lothar Windels
and Rick Wrigley.
Title: For North Bennet Street: A Benefit Exhibition of Studio Furniture
Where: Gallery NAGA, 67 Newbury Street, Boston MA
When: March 5 - 27, 2010. Tuesday - Saturday, 10am to 5pm
Format: A group exhibition of established and new makers of unique or
limited-edition furniture including Garry Knox Bennett, Hank Gilpin, Judy
Kensley McKie, Jere Osgood and 24 other furniture makers.
Proceeds: 50% of sales will be donated to support the North Bennet Street
School's furniture making, cabinetry and other crafts training programs.
Handicap Access: Yes
Parking: two pay lots opposite the gallery, plus metered street parking.
Nearest T stop: Arlington Street station (Green line)
More About Gallery NAGA: gallerynaga.com and 617-267-9060