Sarah Myerscough Gallery at Masterpiece London 2019
Established in 1998, Sarah Myerscough is a London-based gallery, that represents outstanding international artist-designer-makers, who blend craft-making traditions with contemporary vision and innovation to create outstanding pieces. The gallery recently inaugurated its new permanent space in Barnes, located in an old boathouse on the River Thames, a harbour for contemporary art and collectable design. Here are displayed remarkable art pieces and furniture which unveil the limitless facets of the wood, the primal yet versatile features of the clay, so favoured by contemporary artists, as well as surprising explorations of the classical art with a modern twist.
The gallery’s aesthetic is unquestionably developed around organic materials - especially wood, textures and sculptural forms, mainly focusing on the natural and unrefined, creating a distinct tactile and sensorial experience that connects us to the natural world. The artists employ various techniques to explore further the elaborate connection between history and future, hand-crafted and technology, form and function.
Sarah Myerscough actively promotes this new aesthetic concept of artist-designer-maker by placing their works within notable private and public collections and exhibiting at the leading international art, design and craft fairs. Masterpiece London is one of these art shows where the gallery was present this year with a curation of furniture and artworks from some of the leading contemporary artists, designers and makers: Alison Crowther, Christopher Kurtz, Joseph Walsh, Maisie Broadhead, Marc Fish, Gareth Neal, Ernst Gamperl, Wycliffe Stutchbury, Eleanor Lakelin, Luke Fuller, Nic Webb, John Makepeace, Jim Partridge & Liz Walmsley, Peter Marigold & Takanori Tozawa, thus exposing the art and the makers to a broader international audience.
ARTISTS ON SHOW AT SARAH MYERSCOUGH BOOTH - MASTERPIECE 2019
Alison Crowther sculpts and makes furniture exclusively in wood sourced from UK woodlands. Crowther's sensibility to the environment is omnipresent in her work, which reveals the intricate geometry of nature. When working the wood, the artist observes and responds to her material, carefully examining its density, grain and intricate growth patterns, details that give a beautiful appearance to the finished object.
Crowther has worked on major private and public commissions in the UK, notably the Winchester Cathedral,, Chatsworth Park, Derbyshire and the Cass Foundation, West Sussex.
Choosing with great care his palette of tools he uses during the creative process, American designer-artist Christopher Kurtz revolves around engaging with each piece on an intuitive and conceptual level. The artist has gained international recognition with his sculptures and studio furniture which received prestigious awards and belong nowadays to noteworthy private collections. In 2018, Kurtz was shortlisted for the Loewe Craft Prize with a signature wooden sculptural work and received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award in 2005 and a New York Foundation For the Arts (NYFA) Award (Lily Auchincloss fellow) in 2007. Kurtz was also part of in the ‘Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft and Design’ exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design, USA.
Furniture maker and designer Joseph Walsh was inspired in the early stages of his creative career by the vernacular design and later by the generation of the 20th-century studio makers such as John Makepeace, who initiated the young Walsh into his craft. Assisted today by his own team of international master craftsmen, Walsh works worldwide on commissions for exceptional sculptural hand-crafted furniture pieces inspired by his love of nature. Noteworthy mentioning here Magnus Modus - the imposing commission for The National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin in 2017 and 24 Enignum chairs for Chatsworth House, England in 2014.
His work has been exhibited in major exhibitions throughout the world, and included in many public and private collections. In 2015, Walsh was awarded an honorary doctorate by University College Cork for his contribution to the arts in Ireland followed by the American Irish Historical Society Cultural Award in 2017.
A graduate from the Royal College of London, Maisie Broadhead reinterprets historical images and genres from a new perspective and further explores the idea of 'illusion' and ‘value'.
Endowed with an impeccable eye for detail, quality and composition, her work has been showcased in major museum exhibits. Her creations reveals sophisticated set designs, lavish costumes, and theatrical directions, which together contribute to the materialisation of the artist's final vision - a classic, rich sumptuosity to which she often adds a touch of witty contemporary adornment. By combining contemporary with historical elements, the artist aims to create a link between the past and present. In 2013, Broadhead won the Jerwood Makers Open and received a significant grant from Arts Council England for a public commission at the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, UK in 2015.
Marc Fish was present this year at Masterpiece with his stunning creation Mokume-Gane Console. The piece is made of small slices of a 3500 years old Bog Oak which have been laminated to take its actual form, displaying an intricate Mokume Gane bronze finish.
Mokume Gane is a metalworking technique originating from the 17th century Japan where was used mainly for making swords. Exploring further this traditional technique, Fish has created a finish that could be adapted to curved surfaces, a process which took him four years to master.
Fish received four Guild Marks by The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers, followed by the Claxton Stevens award in 2011 and the best Guild Mark of 2010. In 2015 he was awarded the first prize at Cheltenham Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design.
When Gareth Neal created the Hack Chair II, he was widely influenced by Georgian furniture design.
Using the scorching method to emphasise the imperfections in the oak, the designer created a remarkable piece of furniture with a rich, dense surface and authentic design. Ultimately, the piece is finished with a colouring technique inspired by the traditional English furniture-making. Through his work, the designer establishes a dialogue between the historical and the contemporary, mixing traditional methods with new technologies. Neal's work is today part of important public collections and was showcased at the 'Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft and Design' at the Museum of Arts and Design, USA.
German artist Ernst Gamperl is a master craftsman who works mainly in European oak. Gamperl turns and carves wood when it is still green and flexible, making its grain, lines, colouring and natural imperfections an essential part of his design and further employs specialist techniques to emphasise its beauty. Today, his work is displayed in many international collections. In recognition of his artistry, Gamperl’ was awarded the inaugural Loewe Craft Prize in 2017. His solo museum show, Dialogue with Wood, is currently on at the Gewerbemuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, until November 2019.
Wycliffe Stutchbury creates elaborate wood shingle wall panels and free-standing screens laid by hand to create evocative patterns across the surface of the work.
The artist states: ‘My compositions from fallen and forgotten timber and are studies in the narrative beauty of wood. They are made to reveal timbers’ response to its environment over time, its unfashioned beauty, durability, and vulnerability. The origin of the material I use is central to my work. Whether it be… a branch of Sycamore found in a scrub area that fringes the fields of the Sussex Downs, or a 40 year old Oak gate post, the sense of place is very important.’
His works were showcased in numerous exhibitions in the UK and in the US and are part of international collections. In 2018, Stutchbury was among the artists shortlisted for the Loewe Craft Prize.
Passionate about wood, Eleanor Lakelin unveils through her work its living quality and its history, as well as the fundamental and emotional bond created between artist and matter.
Lakelin comments: ‘I peel back bark to reveal the organic chaos that can exist in the material and build up layers of texture through carving and sandblasting. I use the vessel form and surface pattern to explore time, the layers and fissures between creation and decay and the erosion of nature’. Her distinctive shapes, reminiscent of the organic attributes of the earth, are sculpted with a traditional woodworking lathe, old chisels and gouges together with more modern techniques and tools. Lakelin’s work has been recently acquired by The Mint Museum of Craft and Design, USA and the Museum of London, UK.
Luke Fuller obtained a BA in 3D Design and Craft from the University of Brighton, speciality Ceramics in 2018 followed by several important awards and bursaries in the next years. He received The Richard Seager Bursary Award and was a Craeftiga Finalist in Association with Hole & Corner. Fuller is currently pursuing his studies at the Royal College of Art on the MA Ceramics and Glass.
For Luke Fuller “Clay is part of the geological platform on which we stand. It is a material that not only connects us to our most primitive beginnings but one that also offers versatility and possibility to produce contemporary objects of craft and design as valid as any in the modern era. Clay is one of the original products of recycling, from mountain top to river bed, this natural material offers me the chance to engage with the elemental earth and, through practice, build upon the traditions and lineage of human making.”
Nic Webb chooses diﬀerent species of fallen wood to create pieces that reveal the natural emotion of the material. Each piece is a personal interpretation of the character of the wood, which is represented in diﬀerent, creative ways. The artist uses experimental methods such as carving, scorching, burning, soaking and staining to reveal the imperfections in the wood and create dramatic features. Webb’s original work is very sought after and has been exhibited in the UK and abroad on multiple occasions and is included in important private collections.
Webb states that, ‘as fire journeys into wood, forms are revealed, briefly seen and quickly disappear. These vessels begin in primitive crudeness, move through varying states of function, and evolve or ‘devolve’ towards a delicate border between existence and absence. On the whole the fire and the wood burn as they wish. As the piece concludes, I intervene, shepherd and finally halt the progress of loss at the place before all remnants of the journey are gone. The objects that remain are forms captured moments before they disappear completely from our world. They are husks; the edges between being and not.’
John Makepeace OBE
John Makepeace OBE, recognised as the Godfather of contemporary British wood furniture design, gained early recognition as a furniture maker. In 1972 he was named a founding member of the Crafts Council UK, and from 1987–91 he was a trustee of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Among his early commissions are those from Templeton and Keble College, Oxford, Liberty's, Banque Générale du Luxembourg to which succeeded international museums as well as corporate and private clients. The designer received an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 1988 for his services to furniture design and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Furniture Society in 2004. In 2012, his work was part of the significant Victoria & Albert Museum exhibition ‘British Design 1948–2012: Innovation in the Modern Age.’ He is the Winner of the UK’s Prince Philip Designers Prize 2016.
Makepiece comments: ‘As a designer and a maker, I am constantly searching for more eloquent concepts for furniture,’ says John Makepeace OBE. ‘My objective is to achieve freer, lighter, stronger, and more sculptural forms better suited to their function and more expressive of what is unique about each commission.’
Jim Partridge & Liz Walmsley
The duo of internationally acclaimed designers Jim Partridge & Liz Walmsley has been designing and making sculptural furniture for 25 years. Passionate about shou-sugi-ban, a traditional Japanese technique of wood preservation, they have introduced it in the contemporary craft and design with the aim to emphasise the pure beauty of the wood through the simplicity of their creations.
In recognition for their craftsmanship, Partridge and Walmsley have been recently shortlisted for the Loewe Craft Prize 2019. Their work can be admired in collections acros the world at The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Kyoto Museum of Modern Art, Japan, Boston Museum of Fine Art and The Mint Museum of Craft and Design, USA.
Peter Marigold & Tadanori Tozawa
Acclaimed British designer Peter Marigold and Japanese furniture company Hinoki Kogei - directed by Tadanori Tozawa, started their collaboration in 2012 on the occasion of the exhibition Simple Vision coordinated by Japan Creative Project at Salone del Mobile Milan, which united Western designers and Japanese craft artisans. The outcome of their collaboration is the Dodai bench, a sculptural piece of furniture which is also functional, made of massive logs split in half and covered by an overlay made of woven grass (igusa) and hiba rods. Marigold received his M.A. in Design Products from the Royal College of Art, London in 2006 where he studied under Ron Arad. Following his graduation, he earned an Esmee Fairbairn bursary at the Design Museum graduate exhibition (UK). His work is included in exhibitions in UK and internationally.
The Masterpiece Collections will be on show at Sarah Myerscough Gallery until September 8, 2019, 6:00 PM.
The Old Boathouse
1 White Hart Lane
SW13 0PX London
Nearest train station: Barnes Bridge, 20 min journey from Waterloo