Volume Gallery is pleased to present Wrong Chairs by design collaborative Norman Kelley, opening November 15th with a reception from 6-8PM.
exhibition: Norman Kelley, “Wrong Chairs.”
Friday, 11/15 (opening)
6.00–8.00 p.m. / Volume Gallery
845 West Washington Blvd
Chicago, IL 60607
Norman Kelley’s Wrong Chairs purposefully disrupt the notion of “correctness” through the iconic Windsor chair. The Windsor chair, with its British roots, has become a symbol of colonial America – chairs that are democratic in design, occupying both domestic and public spaces. “At first glance, these are Windsors; they blend into the images we hold of domestic places we’ve encountered at some point or another, but, at second glance, they’re more unreasonable,” says NK.
In using an object readily recognized and imbedded with nostalgia, NK utilizes the Windsor chair as the control – a seemingly ordinary object – for the exploration of “wrongness”.
Inspired by deceptive optics and adapting specifications from expert craftsman John Kassay’s drawings of 18th and 19th century Windsor chairs, NK plays on optical illusions, taunting the viewer to take a second glance by exploring the visual boundaries of anamorphism, trompe l’oeil, and forced perspective.
“In our work, and with this project in particular, we’re interested in what motivates a double take, or a closer look,” explains NK. In provoking the observer to confront a traditional object transformed with intended “wrongness”, NK resituates the historic Windsor chair through a contemporary lens that is at once defective while retaining functionality.
The exhibition features a medley of seven Windsor chairs. Each chair is strategically defective, to comment on the ability for an object to be, at once, both wrong and right. While deviating from the original design and appearing broken or unbalanced, the chairs are structurally sound. NK concludes, “as architects, what we typically perceive as being wrong with design hinges on geometric imprecision or a lack of command over tolerances; we concede that most things are susceptible to being wrong. Our aim is to discipline that potential to provoke new forms of making and observation”.
Norman Kelley, LLC is a design collaborative between Carrie Norman and Thomas Kelley based out of New York City and Chicago. Thomas Kelley (M.Arch, Princeton University / B.S.Arch, University of Virginia) is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and recipient of the 2013-2014 James R. Lamantia, Jr. Rome Prize in Architecture at the American Academy in Rome. Carrie Norman (M.Arch, Princeton University / B.S.Arch, University of Virginia) is a Design Associate with SHoP Architects in New York City where she contributes on a range of urban scale projects, including the East River Waterfront Project. Their work has been exhibited in New York, Chicago, and Buffalo among other places.
Volume Gallery is a gallery with a specific focus on American design, particularly emerging contemporary designers. Founded by design specialists Sam Vinz and Claire Warner, Volume Gallery releases editions, publications, and exhibits that showcase the work of American designers to regional, national, and international audiences. Volume Gallery asks critical questions of what it means to be an American designer in a culture that is rapidly becoming global in scale, while simultaneously examining the American experience. Volume Gallery is derived from a compulsion to provide a platform for emerging American designers to engage with an international audience.
NORMAN KELLEY: Wrong Chairs, November 15th – January 25th