An exhibition of furniture by Darren Oates titled Spatial Curvature, will run from November 27 until February at Bungendore Wood Works Gallery. Here Darren writes about his work and gives some background to the pieces that will feature.
It’s funny and rewarding the journey that life’s unpredictable path can take you on. Much of my earlier career was taken up in the Royal Australian Air Force, from which a productive combination of discipline and single-minded dedication to whatever project I was involved in has stood me in good stead for the great adventure of striking out on my own in making fine furniture.
Having had a fascination for working with wood for over 20 years now, my endeavours have taken me down a successful commercial furniture making path since I graduated from Sturt School For Wood in 2007. Building creative pieces on spec, as well as on commission for a range of clients has not only boosted my confidence in what can be a fickle marketplace, but also fine-tuned my design and production skills and capabilities.
I currently exhibit in four galleries across New South Wales where I have been lucky enough to secure a steady stream of sales from among a sea of truly wonderful pieces of fine furniture by many other artists and makers. I have also won a number of furniture and woodworking awards since leaving Sturt and written many articles for Australian Wood Review.
Today, after eight years of furniture design and production in my own workshop in the Hawkesbury, NSW I feel I have refined my designs and techniques to the point where I am ready to present a collection of work that has challenged my own creativity and skills.
I use simple lines in my work, as I believe simplicity of form gives a piece integrity and allows the wood to shine. I have always been adamant that all of the furniture I make is totally my own design. I have no desire to copy or plagiarise any other maker’s work. Having said that, I have a great love and admiration for furniture from other designer/makers around the world. They include Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Greene & Greene, Matthias Pliessnig, and closer to home, George Gavaric and I also have a keen interest in anything Art Deco, including furniture.
For the work to be shown in Spatial Curvature I have mostly used reclaimed timber sourced from trees that have been removed to make way for housing and industrial estates, roads and farmland. All are Australian natives and include spotted gum, ironbark, red cedar, Victorian ash, swamp oak and more.
I have designed these pieces to make maximum use of these timbers. My intention is to show great respect for the wood that has been felled to accommodate man’s progress. I also like to think that my pieces are the ‘antiques of the future’ and hope they will still be around long after the houses and factories erected where the trees once stood have disappeared.
Wall art by watercolourist Chan Dissanayaki and figurative artist Rick Cochrane will run concurrently with Spatial Curvature. Bungendore Wood Works Gallery Kings Highway, Bungendore, NSW