Come out this Friday, June 25, for the opening of the exhibition Regarding Place, curated by Jana Harper. Two of my recent paintings, love seat and where we stand is beginning to end, are included in the show. There will be plenty of other work to see, as this is a part of a larger exhibition series. You can read more about it here. The opening is from 6-8 p.m. at the St. Louis Artists’ Guild, Two Oak Knoll Park, Clayton, MO, 63105. The exhibition will be on view through August 20, and regular gallery hours are 12-4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
The “flume bench” is completely finished, so here are a few snapshots. I elected to use a higher build finish than usual (this was a seven-coat process) in order to create a counterpoint between the “reclaimed” aspect of the raw lumber and the “refined” aspect of the finished piece. Even with a satin finish there is a great deal more reflectivity than I am used to, but it feels right to me at the moment.
The “flume” bench is built, and I am in the midst of the staining/finishing process. I ended up deciding that dovetails were the best design decision for both ends of the bench. Cutting them was a bit tricky, as there are no flat surfaces involved. But when you are cutting joints by hand, the irregularity of the surfaces is incidental. It boils down to marking well and sawing well. The African mahogany is not particularly forgiving, as it is very dense and prone to chipping, but I managed to make it work and am pleased with the results. I ended up cutting the bottom edge of the the vertical “keel” support into a curve to eliminate the last bit of strict geometry. It extends into a mortise in each leg, where it is fastened from the outside with a wedged dowel.
I’ve been thinking about benches as expressions of transience, as they tend to encourage you both to take a rest and to move on. When sitting on this bench, the variation in form actually made me want to move around and try out each contour for degrees of comfort. The slight slope reinforces the sense of transience, making “flow” a visceral and tangible experience for the sitter.