We spend a lot of our time in the presence of mass-produced tables, desks, lights and shelves. While these objects can make our lives easier, sometimes they aren’t perfect—a light is too dim, a desk is the wrong height, a table is too big. Limitations imposed by lack of space, lack of functionality or lack of funds can inspire the creation of objects for a specific need. Functional design is a thoughtful practice that considers available space, materials and finance. And since these do-it-yourself concepts aren’t born in boardrooms, often the execution yields the right item for the available space with funds and aesthetics in mind.
A table built specifically for the breakfast nook in a postwar bungalow will look very different from a mass produced brunch table from Ikea. Likewise, a drafting table conceptualized by a cartoonist with a specific need for light and long-term comfort may differ from one purchased from an arts retailer. In Form and Function, an exhibit presented by the Green Gallery at the Scrap Exchange, a number of local and regional artists explore the terrain of creative reuse as repurposed car parts, found objects and items from everyday use become art with a practical purpose.
After working in kitchens for years, Durham artist Jenny Marsh traded one sweltering environment for another when she became a welder. Now the fruits of her labor are designed to last a lifetime. Local farmer and artist Maryah Smith-Overman has studied woodwork and design. An example of her work functions daily at Cocoa Cinnamon in Durham. Lance Ashley scours the state for objects to re-use in functional art. When his home grew full of the things he’d built, he decided it was time to start showing people his work.
Form and Function runs November 15 – December 14. The opening reception is scheduled for Friday November 15, from 6-9pm and includes refreshments and music. Green Gallery receptions are free, open to the public and sponsored by PBR.