Studio Brunstrum

SOFA Chicago: 2019

November 5, 2019

Susan's round-up of her favorite artists and pieces from the 2019 SOFA Exhibition.

While hosting the Design Trust Chicago Symposium (a group of 20 design CEO’s from across the US), we spent a few hours perusing SOFA (Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design) over the weekend. Glass, wood, porcelain, woven bamboo and photography made my list again this year… what can I say, I love texture! Below are some of my favorite galleries and artists. The first three I chose as a “Selects Spotter” for the exhibition:

1. Duane Reed Gallery. US artist Nancy Callan. Blown and slumped glass vases with gold leaf accents “Kimono”. A glass sculptor and educator for many years, she is known for her ability to take centuries old Venetian glass techniques and turn them into something uniquely hers. While her work is bold and adventuresome, these pieces are also sophisticated and elegant, perfect for a dining room or living room.

2. TAI Modern Gallery. Japanese artist Monden Yuichi. Bamboo sculpture, “Wave Prayer”. An engineer turned artist, born into a bamboo basket-making family, he followed in his father’s footsteps. The flowing composition and controlled irregularity of this sculpture has a feminine presence due to its curvaceousness. It would be a lovely addition to a home where symmetry is the norm as it would add an element of surprise.

3. Steidel Contemporary Gallery. US artist Kate Tremel. White porcelain vase, “Lacey”.
A resident of Vermont and Michigan with a 35+ years compulsion to work with clay. She creates vessels, pots and vases inspired by nature’s fleeting moments of beauty. This vase would be ideally placed on a pedestal or console close to a window to enjoy its dual beauty, that of the vase and its lace-like reflections. It would pair perfectly in the same room with either of the bamboo sculptures.

The work of two women artists, Mel Douglas and Clare Belfrage at Traver Gallery were also very intriguing. Clare’s glass vessels are mesmerizing as she uses intricate drawings as an overlay along with color combinations that come from nature. Mel’s glass pieces have engraved markings and they are very bold and geometric in shape.

Hilton Asmus Contemporary featured black and white photographs of big, bold, in your face animals in their natural habitat captured by the globe-trotting David Yarrow, who I have had the opportunity to meet on a few occasions.

And of course, year after year I am drawn to Tobias Mohl’s series of glass vessels at Heller Gallery. They are sublime and sophisticated, especially the groupings encased in a white frame!

Susan Brunstrum
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