UFORGE’s current Revolver exhibit, Robert Worth: Sculpting Furniture, got me thinking about function and art. For some, sitting in front of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies can transcend them to an alternate realm, full of serenity and wonder. For others, like myself, a canvas behind a frame just doesn’t cut it and I constantly find myself on a quest for a bizarre immersive installation. In Subsaharan and West Africa, a mask crafted specifically for a ceremony or ritual isn’t considered art or even a form of personal expression, rather it’s simply part of the culture. For an art dealer, a painting is an investment. The list goes on. Regardless, art always serves some form of function whether it’s aesthetic, cathartic, social, political, historical etc.
In Robert Worth’s case, his art happens to fulfill a very basic need: furniture.
As a sculptor, what about furniture inspired you? It was definitely the accessibility of furniture that first inspired me to begin using it as an art form. As an artist my goal, which I believe I share with many other artists, is to create work that can be appreciated by as many people as possible. The best part of creating furniture is that it can be viewed, used and appreciated by virtually anyone; that’s enough to keep me inspired for a lifetime.
Do you believe that art and functionality ought to be intermixed more often? I think they already are. Art is functional by nature; it just often functions to stimulate the mind rather than the body. Sure you can't pick up a painting and physically do something with it (even though you may want to) but if it’s a good painting you don’t need to, it serves its function by hanging on the wall and being viewed, triggering memories, showing people somewhere they have never been... It’s funny, when I was in art school other students always use to say that my work fell under the category of functional-art but most of the time so did theirs. I’ve always believed that if it is not functional in some way the artist has not done their job or the artwork is not doing its job. People create ‘things’ all the time, what makes something art is that it’s not just for the person who made it. In my eyes the best pieces of artwork are personal to the creator yet accessible to as many people as possible and therefore serve many functions.
I think we can all agree that the beauty of art is its wide variety of functions and ability to blur boundaries. Sculpting Furniture will be showing at Uforge until March 10 and is definitely a must-see (or sit) !