HEAVY METAL Ingrid Donat, Juan and Paloma Garrido, Hervé Wahlen September 15 – October 29, 2011
Barry Friedman Ltd. is pleased to present “Heavy Metal,” three concurrent solo exhibitions of new works by contemporary French furniture designer Ingrid Donat, Spanish silversmiths Juan and Paloma Garrido and French metal sculptor Hervé Wahlen. Each artist takes a contemporary approach to traditional media and works outside of anticipated forms and constructions. The works will be on view at the gallery from September 15 through October 29, with an opening reception for the artists, September 15, from 6-8pm.
Contemporary French furniture designer Ingrid Donat was born in Paris in 1957. Having studied sculpture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Donat’s work clearly reflects her background as a sculptor. While originally deriving inspiration from the elegance of Art Deco and the tonality of primitive tribal art, her new richly textured cast-bronze, aluminum, and concrete furniture embodies clean, bold lines, and geometric forms, while maintaining a fascination with texture and tactility. Drawing from a mix of structural influences, Donat maintains her own distinctive language of surface detail. “I draw inspiration from the everyday,” she states. “This can be naturalistic, mechanistic, industrial, or cultural. I am inspired by specific surfaces: reptile skin, Samurai armor, tattoos, etc.” Donat’s new pieces show an evolution for her as a designer, as she has begun working in the increasingly popular material of polished concrete. Her works have become modernist and linear, retaining beautifully textured surfaces, as well as geometrically complex spatial arrangements. Commode aux 7 engrenages, is a classic example of Donat’s contemporary limited edition furniture. A deeply textured dark bronze exterior contrasts to the smooth and golden drawer interiors. Opening the top drawer engages a vertical line of gears on either side of the Commode recalling the complex inner workings of a vintage timepiece.
Donat’s work has been exhibited at such venues as the Sotheby’s exhibition for contemporary international design at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire, England alongside such prestigious names as Marcel Wanders, Studio Job, and Atelier Van Lieshout. Additional exhibitions include Galerie Cazeau-Beraudiere, Paris; Pavillon des Antiquaires et des Beaux Arts, Paris; Parc de Saint Cloud, L’Art du Jardin et de la Sculpture, Paris; and the Carrousel du Louvre, Paris. Top architects and designers seek her work for use in residences and designer showcases around the country. Ingrid Donat currently lives and works outside of Paris.
Also on view are works by Spanish silversmiths, Juan and Paloma Garrido, son and daughter of the late noted Spanish silversmith, Damián Garrido (1931-2002). Trained in their father’s atelier for 15 years, this duo creates sleek and modern industrial designs, made of straight angular corners and curvaceous edges. Like architectural models, many works appear asymmetrical and dimensional, reflecting both their own edges and the surrounding world. The duo maintains an allegiance to traditional silver working techniques, while adopting a contemporary interpretation of silver candelabras, centerpieces, tea services, and nickel-plated furniture. Abstracted forms and highly polished surfaces are hypnotizing in their modern elegance. New works like Table Block, made of nickel-plated silver demonstrate the pair’s modernist tendencies and progression towards larger scale functional forms. Like oversized puzzle pieces, two angular and geometric tables fit perfectly into one another creating a dizzying unification of fragmentation and form.
José Manuel Cruz Valdovinos, Professor of Art History at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid states, “The regretted death of the great silversmith Damián Garrido has not brought the artistic path he initiated during the last years of his production to a close. His son and daughter, Juan and Paloma [...] have given fresh impetus to a prestigious firm that already enjoys international renown”
Their work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Art and Design, New York; Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas, Madrid; and The Museo Nacional del Grabado Contemporáneo Español, Marbella. Additionally, their work can be found in such prestigious collections as The Spanish Royal Family; Pope Benedict XVI; numerous Spanish government institutions; and Spanish Embassies in Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Romania, and Ukraine, among others. Private collectors like Ralph Lauren and Sir Elton John are also collectors of the Garrido’s work.
Lastly, on view will be a collection of works by the French artist Hervé Wahlen. A self-taught sculptor, he is a master of the rare art of dinanderie, or the manual shaping and decorative processes of copper metal sheeting. His technique of shaping, hand-hammering, soldering, welding, cutting, and patination, results in organically shaped objects that are sensuous, enigmatic, and skillfully balanced. Smooth exterior surfaces in deep, rich patinas are juxtaposed with highly textured interiors of gold leaf that appear to glow from within. Most of the pieces have a seemingly precarious stance; an illusion created by Wahlen’s careful use of metal ball bearings to provide weighted counterbalance. The viewer is encouraged to manipulate and handle the works, finding their secret compartments, doors, and lids, and creating a sense of discovery and mystery. Pieces like Trans, not only display rich surface patina and delicate positioning, but opens to reveal a glowing inner core and stackable and removable parts. Each interior part has its own unique shape and surface aesthetic. They can be lifted out and removed from the sculpture, allowing the viewer to participate in how the piece is displayed, and interact with the arrangement of their environment.
Wahlen’s work can be found in the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris and in numerous private collections in France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, and the United States, including the collection of Bill Gates. Hervé Wahlen currently lives and works in France.
For visuals or more information, please contact Carole Hochman or Karen Gilbert at 212-239-8600.