The Delaware Art Museum will present “Garry Knox Bennett: Call Me Chairmaker,” featuring 52 one-of-a-kind sculptural chairs created by a contemporary studio furniture maker, June 28⁓eptember 21. Garry Knox Bennett is inspired by well-known furniture designers and architects such as Gerrit Rietveld and Frank Lloyd Wright, using his wit and imagination to create such chairs as “Great Granny Rietveld” and “Wiggle Wright.”
By using bold new forms and constantly expanding traditional boundaries, Bennett makes furniture a form of art. Each chair incorporates precious materials, such as rosewood and yellow satinwood, with unconventional materials, including plywood, aluminum, brass, plastic and paint.
“Garry Knox Bennett’s sense humor is immediately infectious, but it belies an incredible technical virtuosity, which demands a second, closer look,” said Margaretta S. Frederick, curator at the Delaware Art Museum.
Most of the chairs in the exhibit are functional; however, several operate more as symbols than actual seats. Comfort, impossible; sitting down even, a stretch. All 52 chairs are sculptural in quality and each one will awaken a different emotion for the viewer.
Bennett’s “Great Granny Rietveld,” does the unthinkable by design standards: wrapping a retro delicate floral-pattern upholstery around an ultra modern hard-edge functionalist design, in a take off from a 1934 ZigZag chair designed and built by Dutch architect Rietveld.
Bennett studied painting and sculpture at the California College of Arts in Oakland, Calif. In the 1960s, he used the skills he learned by creating metalwork sculpture to found a metal plating business †specializing in handmade jewelry. In the 1970s, he began building clocks and then expanded into furniture making. He had a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City in 2001.
Bennett is represented in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution’s Renwick Gallery; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Oakland Museum of California, as well as in many private collections.
This exhibition has been organized by Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, Wash.
“Take a Seat,” a fundraiser for the museum, will be held September 20. There will be a live auction of chairs created by artists and craftspeople and a silent auction of “seats” to nearby restaurants, theaters and sporting events.
The Delaware Art Museum is at 2301 Kentmere Parkway. For information, 302-571-9590, 866-232-3714 or www.delart.org .