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129H x 129W x 129D inches, vintage chair, woven canvas, layers of plaster, cured, carved, acrylics, urethane, waxed. Functional, durable.
Marcel Duchamp (1887 – 1968) founded the term “Readymades” by exhibiting ordinary objects as art forms. Though he might have preferred that we be appalled by his signing of ordinary unattractive products like the urinal or a bicycle tire, we end up reconsidering the beauty of Design. His generation of artists advocated the obscure notion of “Art imitating Life”.
It’s said that nothing is truly original; that we only re-invent and improve upon each others’ innovations. The entire process of creating these chairs – rather: re-creating - pays tribute to all Arts, defined in the broadest of terms, and artifacts ever created.
Each chair utilizes the 129H x 129W x 129D inch structure of discarded vintage plastic lawn chairs. They were purchased at a second-hand store before realizing their value as original “Solaire chairs” designed by a French Canadian team, Fabiano and Panzini. They were completely unfashionable during the 1990’s, but I remembered their intriguing design as lawn furniture back in the early 1970’s, and how comfortable they were. A nostalgic vision to refurbish them came to mind, half-thinking that they could be thrown away if I couldn’t figure out a way to re-salvage them.
Two were non-functional with cracked plastic and large gaps, so the risk of paying $3.00 each was reasonable. However, like a lot of artwork, the finished products did not materialize for many years. About ten years would pass before having enough time to start projects that were not work-orders. Two more chairs were purchased after moving to Texas, where despite my husband’s protests, I insisted on moving the first two along with the rest of our belongings. The down-side about the design of these chairs is that they can't be stacked, they take up a good deal of space, and are awkward to carry. However, items like this, with so much potential, are worth every inconvenience!
The designs were chosen over a period of extensive research, and a life-long fascination with, art history and all prehistoric cultures and the objects they made.
After weaving strips of canvas across the damaged areas and layering more of the fabric with white glue in a paper mache fashion, thin layers of plaster were gradually applied, allowed time to cure, then sanded in between coats. The four chosen chair designs were finalized as sketches on paper then drawn freehand on the dried plaster surface with graphite, marker, and acrylic paints. 3 out of 4 chairs involved some carving, with successive chairs each more elaborate than the one before. All are finished with coats of varnish and an application of wax to enrich the colors.
As key pieces in the the Dancing With Trees Art Exhibition collection, (www.majestyoftrees.com), the chairs are a means to relay some of the more abstract concepts regarding the importance of trees, particularly with reference to myths, legends, other historic aspects and cultural significance.
The chairs are truly one-of-a-kind, completely functional, and are the ideal place to replicate historic art themes and ancient artifacts. With far more ideas than chairs and a quest to buy more at this point, unfortunately the value of original vintage Solaire chairs increases while availability decreases. I'm looking to buy extras in any condition, so if you know where more can be purchased, please let me know.
My approach toward art emphasizes value in the work process, where means to expression are diverse. Styles reflect intuitive responses to subjects, emotional memories, media, format, and more subjective factors.