Emerging: From Behind the Studio Door

Week 3

Early in 2016, I began to explore the chair as an ongoing theme in my art. Doing so allowed me to work with a whole variety of mediums and approaches while keeping a consistent thread throughout my work – a signature, if you will. 

Chairs are essential to our wellbeing, so it is not surprising we name a chair’s structure after the physical characteristics of the human form. Chairs have seats, backs, arms, legs and feet. They also have shoulders and knees, and some even have knuckles and toes. In some cultures chairs might even have faces carved in or mounted on the backs to represent a ruler or leader or to reflect the spirit of one who is not present. During the Civil War, the empty chair at a family’s table represented the son or husband who had gone off to fight.

Chairs are ubiquitous and flexible in their uses. They provide us with physical support: to rest in and for transport; they are a substitute for ladders, allowing us to reach higher, and they act as temporary (or sometimes permanent) receptacles of the odds and ends of our daily lives. Chairs also provide for emotional support: we use them for comforting an infant or child in, for contemplating, for remembering. 

Because of the intimate relationship between chairs and people, there is a long history of artists using them as a metaphor for much of the human condition, particularly the “empty” chair – they have stories to tell. Memory, loss or absence on the one hand and anticipation or welcome on the other, these are all rich themes to mine. 

Thank you for reading!


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