LONDON.- David Gill Gallery
has commenced the presentation of ten exceptional new pieces by the American designer Chris Schanck. Created in 2023 as part of an exciting new partnership with the gallery. Including chairs, tables and a chandelier, the work sees Schanck taking his practice to a new level of imagination and refinement. This is my first formal introduction to the UK and Europe, says Schanck, and I wanted to push both form and process to a new sense of resolution.
Chris Schancks new designs are characterised by a spikey entanglement of hundreds of found pieces, unified by the artist beneath a coating of aluminium, then dipped into luscious resin. They are fantastical and yet functional, with this new collection marked by an enhanced rigour.
Schanck, who has been based in Detroit since 2011, studied sculpture at the School of Visual Arts in New York and then received an MFA in Fine Art from Cranbrook Academy of Art. This fine art background resonates through the expressive freedom of his work that is based on an intense drawing practice. I do it at home, away from the noise of the studio, he explains. And it involves many, many drawings to arrive at a single piece. But it is in design that he finds the space to create both a new language and complete conclusions. There is bravery and boldness in design, he says.
Schanck often acknowledges the influence of his diverse neighbourhood, whose inhabitants are adept at making useful objects out of assemblages of discarded items. Schanck has followed this resourceful lead, taming the chaos of the myriad pieces beneath the alufoil technique that he first developed in 2011 for opulent results. Along the way, a critique of our wasteful society emerges.
A mirror surrounded by Alufoiled and resin- coated wood, creates a frame like a woodland briar. An armchair carved from polystyrene blocks appears to be hewn from gilded rock, juxtaposed by mohair velvet upholstery. An archetypal but jagged dining chair in aluminum and painted in enamel, with its surface undulating like something from outer space. Each offers an ambiguity between the savage, the salvaged and the refined. Schanck himself is aware of blurring the boundary between art and design, referring to his work as occupying the liminal space between the two. In this new collection, he is infusing inspiration from both languages it is gothic, organic and self-determined all at once. A coffee table with its slick pool of resin for a top, is like a rocky outcrop above a lake in a baroque painting.
I have been watching the development of Chriss work with great admiration for some time, says David Gill. I appreciate the way he can focus on working found materials, paying homage to his own urban surroundings while bringing into context the history of art and design, and delivering extraordinary new processes, like Alufoil.
Chris Schanck was born in Pittsburgh in 1975 and then grew up in Dallas, Texas. He studied fine art the School of Visual Arts in New York and an MFA in Sculpture, before embarking upon an art career in New York. However, a move to Detroit to take up a temporary teaching post provoked a seminal change in perspective and Schanck set up a studio in the then beleaguered city. Now, he works with a team of twelve, including young artists and designers as well as two local Bangladeshi craftswomen who joined the studio at its inception. It is an intentionally democratic and egalitarian space. Schanck had his first solo museum show at the Dallas Museum of Art in 2021.
In 2022, his retrospective exhibition Off-World opened at the Museum of Art and Design in New York. In 2023, the American curator Glenn Adamson included Schancks work in the exhibition Mirror Mirror at Chatsworth House, home of the Dukes of Devonshire. The exhibition at David Gill is his first solo show in the UK.
David Gill Gallery
Chris Schanck: 'Panspermia'
October 9th, 2023 - November 11th, 2023