“Plants, Minerals, and Animals”
New York, 515 West 27th Street
Designer David Wiseman (b. 1981). Plants, Minerals, and Animals is the first solo presentation at the gallery bringing together designs conceived and forged in the artist’s Los Angeles studio over the course of the last fifteen years, the exhibition acts as a culmination of Wiseman’s career thus far.
Wiseman's work draws inspiration from his fascination with the natural world, global decorative arts traditions, and a reverence for honoring timeless craft techniques. Far from reproducing historic design, however, he breathes new life into interiors and environments. Porcelain cherry blossom ceilings, bronze patterned filigree folding screens, and polished marble and terrazzo inlay furniture affirm and perpetuate the relevance ornament and beauty can play in contemporary architecture and life.
Rooted in an imagined world of drawing, Wiseman’s creations blossom outward from the page to become sculpture. A deep respect for process, cultivated during his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design, demands that Wiseman is intensely involved in every aspect of the production from the initial sketches to bronze casting, porcelain sculpting, firing and glazing, and handmade terrazzo, all of which happen in the studio in an organic flurry of activity.
Many of the works are developed with Wiseman working on instinct to configure the pieces by drawing from an encyclopedic collection of prior-made casts formed from the natural world and sculpted forms. Acting as an index of Wiseman’s vocabulary and interest, Five Panel Screen (2018), a large bronze folding screen, collages nature in varying degrees of abstraction: microscopic forms transmute into sea waves that meld into a trellis of macrame rope, held together by patterns inspired by traditional Japanese drawings. Lost Valley Mirror (2019), an impressive standing mirror, features a sleeping Capuchin-like monkey resting on its peak, is framed by a slender twisting tree trunk—an imagined hybrid that integrates several plant and fungi species from Wiseman’s native Los Angeles.
Elsewhere in the exhibition, Cloud Garden Canopy (2019), a ceiling-mounted light sculpture, depicts an inverted bed of delicately crafted porcelain and dramatic rock crystal. It hangs above the Large Lattice Vortex Dining Table(2019), a new design realized in bronze and glass that employs the organic hexagonal and pentagonal patterns that recur as motifs throughout the exhibition. These abstracted forms, simultaneously surface and structure, are balanced by the figuration of works such as Bowerbird Table (2019), which takes the eccentric Western New Guinea species as its starting point and reimagines the bird’s mating ritual of collecting forest treasures. Playfully including trinkets that could be gathered from within the studio—a sterling silver frog, blackberries, seed pods, geraniums, and jali patterns—the work demonstrates both the startling intricacy and devotion to nature that combine to characterize Wiseman’s practice.
on view through April 27, 2019