IMAGES FROM THE AND OPENING Night. PHOTOGRAPHY BY Fred Kroh
This is not Memphis - In Conversation
Speakers include: Prof. Michael Trudgeon, Simone LeAmon, Damien Wright, Laura McCusker and Adam Markowitz.
Recorded by Sam Johnson.
this is not memphis
28 April - 26 May 2018
Opening: Thursday 3 May, 6 - 8pm
Adam Markowitz, Bern Chandley, Bryan Cush, Damien Wright, Daniel Poole, and Laura McCusker
It’s no secret, no new idea that we live in a fast-paced world. Bombarded with an endless stream of visual stimuli we seek an anchor in what is familiar, creating an ongoing cycle of the same image, the same object, re-styled and re-presented. This familiarity comes to stand for quality and worth, and as a consequence something valuable is lost.
Craftsmanship is a language. It speaks of techniques distilled and refined through process and time; profound material knowledge combined with resourcefulness and adaptability; and a deep respect for the role these objects play in our lives.
Here are furniture and objects that honour the power of the lived object. Respecting the past this work stands firmly in the present, and looks passionately to the future. It tells stories of concepts born in wood, and crafted by hands that speak fluently. It is made to live with, and to live well. It is unapologetically made to last.
“Our work is about an authenticity that can be tested by the metrics of skill, discipline, time, process, ingenuity, virtuosity and beauty. It demands a connection between the head, the heart, the hand, and the land. And it stands its ground against a complacency and complicity in consumption and waste in our culture.
We believe that intellectual and physical quality matter equally. Making and designing are one. This is our vision of what it means to design and make in this country right now.”
ADAM MARKOWITZ is a practicing Architect, furniture/lighting designer and educator. He has trained in furniture design & making in Hobart, as well as internationally at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art and the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine USA. His work has been exhibited both locally and internationally. He was awarded the ACE Emerging Design Prize in 2015, Vivid Emerging Design Prize in 2014 and 2016, and was shortlisted for the Australian Furniture Design Award in 2017. He was awarded the Dame Joan Sutherland Travelling Scholarship to undertake further craft training in the US in 2014/15. Since 2015 he has operated independent design studio, Markowitz Design, from the Meat Markets in North Melbourne. He currently teaches a furniture design subject at the Melbourne School of Design, The University of Melbourne.
"The reciprocal relationship between hand and mind is central to my design practice. The conceptual process is not purely cerebral but is rather integrally tied to the immediate feedback of the hand. Through this dialogue the work seeks to be anchored to its materiality as well as to the human body which it is to engage."
BERN CHANDLEY began his career as an apprentice in carpentry/joinery in his mid-teens. From there he worked as a carpenter and joiner and then as a set-builder for film, television and theatre. By early 2000 Bern was building furniture for clients and in 2011, after studying chairmaking, he began specialising in designing and building chairs.
The finesse and beauty of Bern’s work comes from an artist’s sensibility for material and form, and a craftsman’s attention to detail and structural integrity. Bern’s work has been featured in magazines, books, design blogs and websites, woodworking magazines and he is a writer himself on his craft. He has taught chairmaking and uses Instagram to post in detail his experiments and developments in this field. Bern recently won the Highly Commended prize in the Clarence Prize for excellence in Furniture Design.
"I am a chairmaker specialising in designing and building contemporary chairs utililising the centuries old knowledge and skills of the traditional windsor chairmakers. The success of these chairs structurally has everything to do with the timber selection, how that timber is worked and the immensely strong joinery that links all components to the solid timber seat. I am able to create a lightness of look due to the fact all wood selected has straight grain running continuously from one end to another. The end result is an incredibly durable chair to be passed on generationally from user to user. The ultimate upshot being material sustainability plus the creation of a meaningful relationship with the user and those around them over the course of their lives."
Sawdust Bureau was founded by BRYAN CUSH in 2012 as an experimental furniture workshop whilst he was employed in Architectural practice. The studio aimed to fuse his 15 years of experience in studying and practising architecture around the world with his passions for sculptural craft and timber. They combine the best of modern and traditional woodworking and joinery techniques to produce handmade, low-volume and limited edition pieces made exclusively from sustainably-sourced, Australian native timber species.
Sawdust Bureau’s work has been recognised with a VIVID Design award, multiple Melbourne Design Awards and was shortlisted the 2017 Clarence Prize. Their work has also been featured and profiled in publications such as Green Magazine, Inside Magazine, Grand Designs, The Age and Design Milk.
"I am hoping that this exhibition can spark debate and constructive discussion about the direction of design and craft in Australia. We seem to be stuck in a infinite cultural loop which rewards staying within a safety net, rather than breaking boundaries and bucking trends. The result is that we are dangerously close to overdosing on banality.
We have entered a phase where stylist ‘gurus’ rather than designers are setting the bar for what is deemed appropriate and creatively fresh. This is our time to stand up as a collaborative maker community and be counted. The reality is that if we don’t push back, we will be walked over and our craft will die or become solely the realm of weekend hobbyists. This is our last stand. This is definitely not Memphis."
DAMIEN WRIGHT is an award-winning furniture designer and craftsman. He works almost exclusively with recovered Australian timbers, in particular, indigenous hardwood species that are not traditionally used to make furniture. Damien sources his timber directly from farmers and millers in western Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. He is acclaimed for his unique ‘whole tree’ approach to furniture design and construction. Damien employs rare joinery techniques such as blind-mitred dovetails and thick veneering. Contracting on a commission-only basis, Damien works either directly with clients or through architects and interior designers. His public commissions include the Federal Court of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Melbourne Immigration Museum, Federation Square Management offices, the Koori County Court of Victoria and the Archdiocese of Broken Bay. Damien’s private commissions are represented in family homes and private art collections. The National Gallery of Australia has acquired his iconic piece, Brief. Wright Studios is located in Northcote, Victoria.
DANIEL POOLE aspires to create furniture that reflects a true synergy between design and workmanship, where neither process dictates the other, but rather allows for dialogue between the two - the result of which is balanced and considered work that deliver both aspects in perfect unison.
In producing any piece, Daniel first seeks to understand the individual requirements and desires of the client, prior to commencing work. In turn, he creates standalone pieces that are born of their environment and from the ideas of those who live within them.
Daniel is based in North Coburg, Melbourne, Australia.
LAURA MCCUSKER is an international award winning furniture designer/maker based in Hobart.
Her work is in collections in US, UK and Europe and has been commissioned locally by both TMAG and MONA. Over the course of 2018-2021 her work will travel throughout Australia as part of the ADC’s travelling exhibition Obsessed: Compelled to make.
Described by David Walsh as his 'furniture designer of choice', Laura has become well established in Tasmania where, since moving with her family in 2003, she now finds the majority of her clientele.
Her designs are recognisable from the clean aesthetic and mid-century influences, and a pragmatic approach to problem solving some of the most challenging commissions has meant that demand for her work continues to increase locally, interstate and internationally.
Laura is an educator and advocate for the Visual arts, Design and Contemporary Craft sector in Tasmania and its community of makers.