Studio Furniture 2018: Phase Two
From Linda Nathan, AWR editor
Over 100 entries have now been reviewed for Studio Furniture 2018. In general terms what is now shown on our website is an outstanding and diverse visual representation of work by many of Australia’s finest woodworkers, and includes fine work by several New Zealand makers, two from the USA and one from Denmark. Thank you one and all.
Shortlisted entrants are now invited to create works for what will undoubtedly be a landmark exhibition that will run for three months at Bungendore Wood Works Gallery, opening October 20, 2018 and ending January 31, 2019.
Following on from SF08 and SF10, this is the third birthing of Studio Furniture. Birth is exciting but there’s also some pain involved. There are risks and things don’t always turn out the way you expect. People invest their time, money and reputation. New makers want to make their mark and gain peer recognition. Established makers can feel like they have more to lose.
I’ve been working through the selection process with David Mac Laren OAM, major sponsor and artistic director of Bungendore Wood Works Gallery. Some decisions have been straightforward however in many cases further and often considerable communication with some entrants was required. This is because we’re also attempting to envisage the end result, the physical shape of a collection of works that mostly don’t exist yet and may not even be made quite like the intended form.
Some makers have not been invited to exhibit and in the main this is because there were criteria and an overall vision to fulfill. We are dedicating SF18 to the memory of Matthew Harding. For those of you who don’t know, Matthew was also David Mac Laren’s son-in-law, so the connection is also very personal. In life and in art Matthew pushed boundaries and with this exhibition we’re asking makers to take inspiration from that.
In the words of David Mac Laren, ‘I regard this as the last exhibition of this scale with this sort of prize money that will happen under my Directorship. And secondly, this exhibition will be dedicated to Matthew Harding, a maker of supreme talent, restless in his design and making who took on huge risks. So I want to make this exhibition a world leading event in the woodworking scene. And I will be asking all makers to step up and extend themselves, beyond commerce, or career. It really is trying to connect with the passion that got us started in woodworking’.
So, here we are with an opportunity to strive for another level. As mentioned it’s a personal, financial and developmental investment. And it’s an opportunity to be part of creating a truly landmark collection that individuality can be expressed within.
For AWR and BWWG it’s also an investment and one we believe is truly worth making. If you entered but weren’t shortlisted take heart, because in so doing you also invested in your own journey.
Here are some of the factors which mitigated against selection:
• Entrants had to submit six images as a summation of their practice. The mix was important, as were quality images. Phone snaps, ‘studio settings’ created with blankets and towels don’t really cut it. This didn’t preclude selection, but certainly didn’t help.
• Images of production work were totally relevant, however we also wanted to be confident that makers would in some cases go further in the spirit of creating a landmark exhibition with a gallery setting. It seemed that some were not able to give time or energy to that, however we were wanting more.
• The design and material selection of shown and proposed work was not in our opinion resolved.
• Some makers had not found their voice, so to speak. Work that is disparate in style does not inspire confidence in what the end result will be. As well as the entries now shown on this website we also looked at every maker’s website, although some did not have one.
• Aiming to create a once in a generation landmark exhibition we felt that the makers needed to have had a significant design and making journey to be confident they would create an exhibition commensurate piece.
• On top of this, because SF18 is a selling exhibition within a commercial fine art and fine woodworking gallery there were considerations such as floorspace and even weight, along with commercial appeal.
• Presenting a cohesive exhibition of studio furniture also worked against the shortlisting of some work for reasons of style.
AWR Studio Furniture 2018 is proudly sponsored by: