Artwork takes a seat in Canberra after difficult start

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Calum Hurley, 3 Chair001, grey, 2020, Powder-coated steel, Jesmonite, hand-spun woollen upholstery. Jordan Leeflang, 3 loft chair, 2020, Walnut.

craft / “Differing Perspectives” by Calum Hurley and Jordan Leeflang, at Craft ACT Craft + Design Centre until August 22. Reviewed by MEREDITH HINCHLIFFE. 

THE exhibition, “Differing Perspectives”, by Adelaide artists Calum Hurley and Jordan Leeflang had a difficult beginning due to COVID-19, but they managed to make it work. 

Rather than cancel, the artists, from the Adelaide furniture workshop at the JamFactory, decided they would ship the work to Canberra. But, it means they were unable to come for the opening and it seems unlikely that they will be able to come before the closing date.

They were also unable to complete all the pieces they had hoped. But they deserve congratulations and admiration for continuing in the face of the hurdles.

The exhibition had its genesis in a series of images of Japanese skylines and streetscapes, taken by Hurley in 2017.

Using different materials, the two designers/artists have created furniture, glass, ceramic and jesmonite vessels – a composite material consisting of a gypsum-based substance in an acrylic resin.

Calum Hurley, Benches, 2020, Powder-coated steel, American White Ash.

The exhibition includes several interesting seats.

Leeflang contemplated the luxury of being driven around, guided in an unknown city, and the contrast of the outside surfaces of buildings, and the inside comfort of a seat. “Cab chair” is a roomy armchair, shaped at the back and curved at the sides for the arms, upholstered in green wool felt. Made from blackwood, it’s shaped by wrapping narrow lengths of timber around the back.

Hurley is exhibiting a seat, titled “Chair 001” in grey and red. Carol Herbertson hand spun the wool she used to weave the upholstery. Flecks of red and white highlight the fat rolls that form the seat. The base is powder-coated grey steel and curved grey Jesmonite, with matching flecks of red and white, could be used as a small table. It’s a functional work, ideal for a small space.

The two artists have engaged several others to create their designs and I applaud them for acknowledging the makers. This way of working is becoming more common, but not all artists acknowledge the contribution of others.

I find this exhibition a little unresolved – although some pieces are successful in their resolution. However, I am full of admiration for these young artists who have proceeded in the face of COVID-19.

The gallery is controlling entry, restricting numbers, and maintaining strict hygiene protocols and distancing standards.

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