DENISE FURNISH AND WALTER EARLY
February 1- March 16
Curated by Joey Yates
A color story is a common term in the world of retail, where a set of items is organized according to color palette allowing a customer to more easily identify the available options and determine how best to build a suite of pieces that reflects personality and need. In fashion this applies to constructing an ensemble, and in interior design it helps in the selection of wall paint that will balance or enhance the furnishings. Artists often employ specific colors to set a mood, convey an emotion or symbolize time and place. In Color Stories Denise Furnish and Walter Early, who work independently of each other, explore color for a variety of reasons, activating new conversations, deepening the work and broadening the scope and reach of their individual artistic intentions. In the context of this exhibition color is used to initiate a dialogue between the two bodies of work on display. Both artists have selected a set of bold, solid colors – in the case of Walter Early to cover his metal sculptures and for Denise Furnish to alter her well-worn fabric canvases. The stories that emerge between the work of Furnish and Early deal with matters related to domesticity and the salvage of forgotten art.
Working with discarded quilts, Denise Furnish explores the designs and stories that embed these important cultural-historical artifacts. Throughout the years Furnish has taken a number of approaches to painting over found quilts, consequently enhancing existing patterns or creating new patterns. In the works shown for the exhibition at KMAC has taken a more direct tactic as she literally “blankets” the textile in a single color, rendering it a type of minimalist painting. In recovering the quilts from their discarded or merely utilitarian status she brings new perspectives to American history and tradition.
Sculptor Walter Early frequently works with discarded industrial waste found from other artist studios. He takes these displaced forms from their original context and provides them with new settings or new relationships. As if exhumed from a burial site for modernist sculpture, Early’s process immobilizes further decay or destruction by preserving the object in a colorfully protective layer of paint. He then situates these fabricated relics onto whitewashed furniture, giving the work a new domesticated status.
By saving, painting, and reusing the remnants or industrial waste of another artist’s work, Furnish and Early are confronting our tattered and torn material culture by designating these objects as viable instead of trash. At the root of their practice lies an ability to see beauty and substance in material that has been abandoned, discarded, weathered and worn. They both give purpose to an examination of the detritus of the material world. Where Early revives industrial debris, Furnish revitalizes domestic ruin.
Rick Heath and Merrily Orsini