Thaddeus Wolfe at R & Company

Thaddeus Wolfe's latest experiments are on view now at a solo show at R & Company in Tribeca, and we're including some of our favorite pieces here today. Inspired by everything from the deterioration of urban surfaces in his Brooklyn neighborhood to the vicissitudes of mushroom foraging, each piece goes so far beyond any preconceived notions of glasswork that it becomes something else entirely.
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Thaddeus Wolfe

New York, r-and-company.com The rough, geometric textures of Wolfe’s otherworldly glass creations are like nothing we’ve seen before.  What is American design to you, and what excites you about it? American design is strong and pluralistic now. I’m amazed how many independent studios/designers are producing great pieces. I find it hard to keep up with everything — even just what is going on in New York. I assume this is partially due to the time in which we find ourselves, both economically and culturally. More designers have decided to form their own businesses rather than working for larger companies. The venues to exhibit and show the work and the market to support it have grown significantly in recent years. There appears to be more emphasis now on formal aesthetics than on ironic/ jokey concepts, which were prevalent in the recent past. This shifting of the aesthetic is an important development. It reflects a maturity of ideas behind what is being made, and that that well-made objects have an inherent value when the are visually exciting. I also particularly enjoy seeing so much great new work in ceramic. I hope the same thing will happen in glass. What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year? Coming up this year, I will have work in two shows this November through R & Company — The Objects Show, and The Salon: Art + Design at the Park Avenue Armory. This December will be my first time exhibiting at Design Miami, also with R, which I am very excited about. Beyond that, I am planning for my first solo exhibition at R & Company, which will be in 2015. What inspires or informs your work in general? Working in glass with all its possibilities and inherent limitations has definitely informed the scope of what I am able to do. I have largely focused on a singular technique of blown-cast objects for some time now. This has allowed me to thoroughly explore and develop color, pattern, surface and the intuitive construction of the forms. I gain insight into what I am doing from a lot of visual sources in my environment and otherwise. I am interested in the organic deterioration of surfaces in my urban surroundings, Czech cubism, visual complexity in simple repeated structures in minerals, plants, and other natural phenomena, and recently poroid patterns in certain bracket-fungi (the undersides of shelf-like mushrooms). … Continue reading Thaddeus Wolfe
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Thaddeus Wolfe: Unsurfacing at Volume Gallery

Thaddeus Wolfe's Assemblage vases looked mysterious enough when he debuted them in 2011, first for sale with Matter and then with a special edition for Chicago's Volume Gallery — we'd never seen glass before that paired the shape and surface texture of rocks and minerals with amazing fades of opaque color. When we asked him to describe his process to us, it turned out that it was relatively easy to grasp, if not execute: He blew the vessels into faceted plaster-and-silicon molds. His newest take on the series — the Unsurfacing collection for Volume, on view as of tonight — looks even more complicated, layered with fragmented geometric patterns and contrasting colors.
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Thaddeus Wolfe, Glass Artist

When asked if he identifies more as an artist or a designer, Thaddeus Wolfe seems genuinely stumped. But perhaps it’s that way for anyone working with glass, a material that’s notoriously hard to confine: “I don’t think I’m a great designer,” he muses. “Maybe it’s because I’m not a master of glass yet that I never quite get what I intend. But sometimes cool things happen from mistakes.” It’s a pretty self-deprecating summation of process coming from someone whose chaotic, mysteriously opaque Assemblage vases for MatterMade are the subject of a solo exhibition opening tomorrow at Chicago’s Volume Gallery, which has in the year and a half since it opened become somewhat of a barometer for the Next Big Thing.
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Amy Brener, artist

Brooklyn-based artist Amy Brener is all about excavating the technological artifact in her large, translucent, crystal-like sculptures. Each standing the height of an average-sized human, the totems are like some colossal peer of Thaddeus Wolfe’s ongoing Assemblage Series. Into these cast resin and concrete monoliths, Brener fossilizes decade-old Nokia phones, Fresnel lenses, and gypsum; once the cast dries, she chisels away, cracking sheets of plastic and remnants of our recent technological past, revealing sculptures that resemble the natural and the geological. The structures stand bright and vertical, weighted in a mix of familiar earthy rock formations and distant ideas of the supernatural. As Brener notes, “My pieces are artifacts from an imagined future.” Enjoy a small selection of our favorites after the jump.
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Week of July 18, 2022

A weekly recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: the first furniture collection from interior designer Robert McKinley, colorful glass candlesticks by Lex Pott, and a Wright auction full of postmodern treasures.
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Design, and Its Attendant Signs of Domestic Life, Ruled at the Spring Art Fairs

Design, and its attendant signs of domestic life, played an even more outsized role than normal at last week's art shows in New York. At many galleries, it seemed that the booth furniture might drown out the works themselves, as with the ombré pieces on view at Peres Projects, or the erstwhile neon pink RO/LU benches at Parker Gallery. The best booth of the week by far, though, was by the London-based gallery Lyndsey Ingram, who handed over its design and curation to Georgie Hopton. Hopton in turn tapped her husband Gary Hume to share the joint booth, then kitted it out like a real home, complete with ruffled baseboards anchoring each color-blocked wall.
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We Asked 13 Designers and 13 High-Profile Creatives to Collaborate for Charity, and the Results Will Surprise You

Since we started Sight Unseen nine years ago, we’ve found ourselves writing again and again about the fertile ground between creative fields. So it wasn’t much of a leap from there to Field Studies, for which we paired 13 furniture and interior designers with 13 creatives in food, fashion, film, art, and music and invited them to create a collaborative object together — all 13 of which are now available to purchase on 1stdibs, with proceeds going to a charity of each pair's choosing.
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Week of August 14, 2017

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: another far-flung European art park, (another) terrazzo and pink interior, and a smattering of previews from the upcoming fall design season.
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Design for Progress benefit auction

Bid on Works By Design’s Biggest Names in Our First Design for Progress Auction

The day after the election in November, we launched Design For Progress, a fundraising initiative meant as a call to action for the design community to rally behind progressive causes. Today we're launching the first-ever Design For Progress auction on Paddle8, featuring 40 contemporary design objects by talents like Bower and Lindsey Adelman and benefitting the ACLU, Run for Something, Sierra Club, and Campaign Legal Center. Get involved by bidding, or just by helping spread the word.
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