Color and Form: paint on furniture

Designing furniture that includes painted surfaces offers opportunities work with color, painted forms and the sculptural shapes of the piece itself. The image above is a detail from a cabinet I made that my family and I use to hang our coats on and store hats, gloves, mittens and scarves.

Saddle Stool by T. Fillingham

I designed this piece to play with the idea of functional sculpture and 2D art. I call it a saddle stool. It may be sat on like a saddle facing the front painted surface or as a more normal stool.

It was never intended to be very practical seating, more to encourage a reaction to the expression of abstracted eroticism.

I’ve used this form, the shape of the painted surface in the stool above, many times.

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Oval Top Table by T. Fillingham

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Oval Top Table by T. Fillinghan

2 Oval Top Tables by T. Fillingham

I did a series of low, side tables with etched glass tops. Below are 4 of them with one of the tops. By using the glass I added another layer for exploring painted forms by creating clear windows through which some of the painted surface could clearly be seen while the translucent surface of the glass created an implied surface beneath it.

A series of small table bases by T. Fillingham

At some point I became interested in a more literal interpretation of colors and forms and created a series of fish tables. At the time I had 2 assistants working for me in my studio and I challenged them to develop painted designs based on my input. We visited a nearby store that had huge aquariums as well as studied tropical fish coloring from reference material. I carved the shapes and legs and worked with my assistants in developing the palette for each table, they did the painting. Here are a few of the tables we produced.

Collaborative Work from the Studio of T. Fillingham

This next piece is not exactly furniture, but it does show my interest in painted, sculptural forms that have roots in pragmatic objects. This is my canoe form.

This last piece was commissioned by a couple that had received this large copper pan as a gift while traveling in Africa. It had been used to roast cocoa beans over an open fire. They wanted to display it and use it in their home to hold magazines. I suggested attempting to indicate a sense of ritual. The couple were on their honeymoon when they received the pan. I researched some of the art of the traditional cultures from the region they had traveled in and used motifs of form and color to create the stand.

And here we get at something that I find fascinating. Traditional cultures around the world have expressed myth and culture by creating objects of color and form for a very long time. Even though I explore many forms of abstraction and am inspired my a great deal of modern art in this, the use of painted forms on 3D forms I feel part of an almost eternal tradition.

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