As a summer-long experiment in collaboration with furniture maker Andrew Reesor, A Viewing Room v.2, aims to encourage both conversation and reflection through the intersection of art and design. Now in its second version, the project began with a proposition: to bring the private public. We spend the majority of our time inside. Therefore, interiors, and the objects that they contain, drive and host our lives. Material causes have immaterial effects. This led us to a series of questions.
To begin, how is public space distinct from private? Does a work of art function differently when viewed in domestic versus communal situations? If so, then why? What creates this contrast? Is it possible to make a public, open environment feel intimate? Or, for a private, personal room to seem more expansive? What role do objects play in these questions, art or otherwise? What is the actual use value of gathering, collectively, in order to view art? How can conversation that emphasizes speculation over didactics shift the ways in which we understand both art and the spaces of exhibition?
At present―when many feel it necessary to invest in more durable and thoughtful relationships between the things we make, buy, and use—a renewed interest in Shaker design has surfaced. Marked by a deep commitment to functionalism, the relationship between a way of life and a method of making were inherently combined. Every object was devised to meet, completely yet economically, a predetermined requirement. Responding to iconic Shaker forms, with special consideration of the Susan Hobbs Gallery space, Reesor has developed a series of Douglas-fir benches that explore the utilitarian and ubiquitous piece of gallery furniture. Simply entitled, Bench, his project follows research into the benches of the Shaker Meeting House―communal rooms designed for the gathering of bodies. As an object with no front or back, benches inherently create space. And, while they imply an intended use, they do not dictate how they are used.
Andrew Reesor is a Toronto based woodworker and designer. From his studio he produces hand crafted commission work, small batch production projects and speculative pieces for exhibition. His process focuses on creating a collaborative relationship with his clients throughout the design process. His furniture has been published and shown across North America including ICFF in New York City and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Most recently, his work was recognized in Wallpaper Magazine’s Design Awards.
Susan Hobbs Gallery is open to the public Wednesday to Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and by appointment. The gallery is located at 137 Tecumseth Street, Toronto.
For more information about this exhibition or the Susan Hobbs Gallery, please give us a call at (416) 504.3699 or visit www.susanhobbs.com.