Design Brut: Material and Form
Walking through glass doors that blend with the window façade, I enter a space that welcomes natural light. This is my first time at Magen H Gallery to see their exhibition, Design Brut.
Greeting me on my left, I see a metal chair with white fur cushions, a lamppost with a nest of bent sheet metal, and a side table with a thin glass top. Suspended above hangs an unlit chandelier with metal stems that point down, and near my right, small sculptures of stacked and carved rocks rest on pedestals with still overhead fixtures.
The gallery sets intimate scenes that celebrate form, color, and material. Through the narrow hall and into the back room, large furniture and hanging sculptures with gilded exteriors boldly contrast against the white walls. As I walk closer to each piece, bluish-green hues emerge from the warm metallic and stone surfaces while wooden tables and woven upholstery bounce and absorb the spotlights. Despite the differences in medium, each piece complements the others’ textural qualities.
My gaze fluidly transitions from one item to the next. Perhaps it is the earth tones in each object or how some sculptures extend outward while others recede. I find myself pulled by the curvatures and crevices of the geometric shapes framed on the wall and then caught by a circular cutout from a stone coffee table centered in the room.
The table’s surface enchants me, its glittery shine embedded within each rigid plane. Looking into the window of the round table, my eyes jump to the hand-stitched lines from the brown olive rug beneath it. My attention skips along the textile’s linear motifs to seek other horizontal patterns reflected on tables near the perimeter.
My sight narrows, expands, and narrows again.
Deconstructing the gallery and its items, I see rhythm and harmony in how designs repeat and reflect one another. Through contrasting textures accentuated by light and placement, each object allows others to have their voice. A bright solid white couch speaks loudly against the ornate bronze metal backboard while a heavy black bowl asserts itself against the glossy sienna table.
The gallery is a theme park for the eyes, converting familiar objects into complex visual attractions. Visitors take turns to observe concave chairs that transform into playground slides while warped metallic surfaces skew people’s reflections like funhouse mirrors. Every piece has its moment to speak through its surface and how one journeys the space.
It was a joy and pleasure to experience this interaction, and I look forward to what Magen H Gallery will show next.
As you explore the gallery, you will see pieces of our work in conversation with the rest of the exhibit.
The show is on until June 2, 2023.