Several years ago I discovered a statement by an interior designer, “Don’t decorate, curate.” As I considered the implications of these words it occurred to me that what I was drawn to in design publications were not just those spaces containing traditional works of fine art, but spaces where the designer’s thoughtful considerations throughout the space constituted a work of art. I have come to believe that a great designer approaches space in ways similar to a painter approaching a canvas. The shape of the room, the light, the colours, a particular chair, a certain painting or photograph, all carefully selected and brought together in a way that has a pleasing and unified affect upon one entering the space.
I am not suggesting that we turn our homes into museums, nor our rooms ready made for a spread in Architectural Design. We do have to live in our homes, and to feel a sense of comfort within them. For me, however, part of that comfort derives from the selection of a particularly beautiful table or a fine painting. Both of these items contribute to my room’s personality, and, if well chosen, will provide much pleasure when I am in this space. The effect can be further enhanced when consideration is given to the ways in which the various objects in the room relate to one another.
As an art gallery owner I am always interested in how people incorporate a newly acquired work of art into their space, how they will marry it to the other existing objects in the room.
When Judith Mackin and I began to discuss the possibility of another Buck & Tuck project I realized we had an opportunity to consider the relationship between the two concepts, art and design. Judith is an ideal designer to work with on such a project because, as a designer, she has both knowledge of and passion for art, and readily incorporates art into her projects.
We decided to create an exhibition project through presentation and response. I would present Judith with specific works of art and she would respond with her design concepts and objects of industrial design. She would present me with objects of design and I would respond with appropriate art pieces. We call the resulting collaboration RSVP: Art + Design Respond.
This exhibition consists of nine installations, eight at the gallery and one at Tuck Studio. These installations feature work by 7 New Brunswick artists and design works from Japan, Denmark, Iceland, US and Canada.
We have created a small catalogue in which we each explain the thinking that directed our responses. They are available at both the Peter Buckland Gallery and Tuck Studio. Below I provide you with an image for each of our installations.
INSTALLATION ONE: (above) a work from Mathieu Leger’s gbk series with Judith’s response. This one was an inspired response as Judith made full use of the wall, the ceiling and the floor. You will have to come in to see it.
INSTALLATION TWO: (above) Rick Burn’s Fall Into Space with Judith’s response. I began working with Rick in 1982. He was a brilliant artist. I truly miss him. Judith also knew Rick, something that I believe made her response to this both thoughtful and personal.
INSTALLATION THREE: (above) Gus Modern Delano Chair with Peter’s response, Rick Burn’s Under The Rock. I am currently managing Rick’s artwork on behalf of the estate, and am planning a major exhibition of his work for the fall. I came upon this piece in the inventory and knew it was the right one for this installation.
INSTALLATION FOUR: (above) Suzanne Hill’s St. John River with Judith’s response, the Earth 8 by FlexibleLove Design Collective. Such a great response to this important work by Suzanne. With its use of 100% recycled paper and wood, this piece of furniture has both the natural texture and flow needed for this installation.
INSTALLATION FIVE: (above) Raymond Martin’s Ivujivik la Nuit: la peche with Judith’s response complete with the Harry Allen Pig. Judith loves Raymond’s work. (Just walk into her kitchen and look up at the big painting on the wall.) She had fun with this one. And, of course, we all know her passion for the pig.
INSTALLATION SIX: (above) Gus Modern Pawn Stools and Paul Loebach’s Distortion candles with Peter’s response, Rick Burns’ The New Language. These pieces from Tuck simply demanded that I find yet one more piece of art by Rick. It’s about truly looking and contemplating a profoundly good painting.
INSTALLATION SEVEN: (above) The Gus Modern Picture Rail and Flat Packable Hibachi Tealight Holders with Peter’s response, a selection of small works by Herzl Kashetsky. The shelf gave me an opportunity to highlight small gems by one of New Brunswick’s most celebrated artists. A great way to explore the diversity in Herzl’s art, and to showcase affordable pieces by such a gifted artist.
INSTALLATION EIGHT: (above) Bird Hangers “Krummi” with Peter’s response, Elizabeth Grant’s I’ll Sing at Your Funeral If You’ll Sing at Mine and Raymond Martin’s Harfang des neiges en vol. To quote from our catalogue, “The bird has a rich cultural history. The iconic images of the winged creature have been present in mythological/religious narratives throughout recorded time.” Here was an opportunity to include two fine paintings, one from Elizabeth Grant, our most recent exhibition, and Raymond Martin, our next exhibitor (April 25).
INSTALLATION NINE: (above) Paul Mathieson’s When They Paint Their Masterpiece and The Wall with Judith’s response. New work from Paul Mathieson is always exciting. Paul is the artist with whom I have worked the longest. His first exhibition with me was in 1982. Judith’s response to Paul’s work has an intelligence and a creativity that honours the work of this fine and unique New brunswick painter. Her installation is in itself a work of art. Installation Nine will be at Tuck Studio until April 18.
This project has been an extremely satisfying one for me. It has been great to be challenged in this way, and to explore the fascinating relationships that can exist between art and design. It has been a pleasure to work with Judith Mackin of Tuck Studio.
Another great project from Buck & Tuck.
Peter Buckland Gallery 35 Duke St. Saint John
Tuck Studio 40 Autumn St. Saint John