Bellevue Arts Museum hosts Seth Rolland’s first solo museum exhibition
Balance and Tension: The Furniture of Seth Rolland is on view at Bellevue Arts Museum May 20 – August 14, 2016
Bellevue, WA—Seth Rolland is a craftsman in the truest sense—someone who thinks and communicates with his hands.
In 2014, Seth Rolland won the John and Joyce Price Award of Excellence for his work in BAM Biennial 2014: Knock on Wood. This award granted Rolland the opportunity to hold a solo exhibition at Bellevue Arts Museum in celebration of his craft. Spanning the last decade, Balance and Tension: The Furniture of Seth Rolland will feature approximately 15 pieces of furniture and sculpture. The exhibition opens May 20, 2016.
A perceptive observer of shape and structure, Rolland finds inspiration for his furniture in the architecture of the natural world. Geological formations slowly carved by the flow of water, the swarming legs of an insect, the growth pattern of tree roots, and the heft of cobbles on the beach all converge to inform his work. Rolland reduces nature’s complexity to its defining elements, which he then integrates into his designs. Through a process of reduction and abstraction, his furniture becomes suggestive of nature’s patterns as shaped by the tension and balance of the forces at play.
Rolland’s singular mastery of the kerfing technique is possibly the most distinctive element of his work. Traditionally used by luthiers to bend the lining of string instruments, kerfing is, in simple terms, the act of making a series of closely placed cuts in a piece of wood so that the material can be curved. In Rolland’s hands, long cuts executed with extreme precision allow a single block of wood to be expanded—not unlike an accordion—in several directions at once. A wood beam, once a supporting structural element known for its qualities of solidity and rigidity, is fanned out, taking on complex geometrical shapes. In these pieces, aesthetics and engineering are inseparable. Intricate at first glance, this furniture is in fact ingenuously simple and sparingly ornamental, riffing on the modernist creed of ‘less is more.’
In the ebb and flow between inspiration from the organic and the architectural, the natural and the man-made, Rolland’s work captures beauty in its purest form.
Balance and Tension: The Furniture of Seth Rolland is organized by Bellevue Arts Museum and curated by Stefano Catalani.
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