“wandering thru summer’s late dream remembered
sky drips thru honey gathered
velvet blossoms talk of all things to come
sun meadow, stalled on the horizon;
a thin pane nearly shattered while tessellated rivers wrap
scents gathered, memories made”
(Los Angeles, CA)–When the Los Angeles-based artist and furniture-maker Chuck Moffit was crafting his immersive installation of five evocative sculptural objects with the Promise of Nectar in early 2016, he couldn’t stop thinking about the lavish arrangements and weightless floral fragrances of Angeleno floral and perfume designer Eric Buterbaugh. Though the two had never met, Buterbaugh’s perfectly coifed, ruby-brilliant roses and his sensual suite of scents — designed “for every dirty, pretty thing” — revealed a complex, sensory process that was strangely complimentary to Moffit’s own practice. After discovering last year how Buterbaugh balanced his delicate notes, Moffit was inspired to work directly with the floral designer, which only added a more layered and nuanced approach to his own work.
For his first solo show at Eric Buterbaugh Gallery, presented in collaboration with Blackman Cruz, Moffit is designing a site-specific quintet of objects, that deftly straddle the contemporary design and sculpture divide, while invoking the concept of an enchanted meadow — a space of dreams, remembrance, and the birthplace of all fragrance.
“The setting at Eric’s gallery gave me a chance to assemble a tableau bringing together my known elements — steel and cast bronze; brutalist and geometric aesthetics — to mingle with the unseen,” said Moffit. “Scent has the most powerful connection to memory and we are always surprised by its strength. The outcome of an almost glacial grinding of heavy material against weightless scent is what we set in motion.”
To set this seductive mise-en-scene inside Buterbaugh’s elegant gallery space, Moffit has installed a Sun floor lamp, rendered in steel and bronze, whose stained glass shade casts a soft glow onto a forged center table embellished with Buterbaugh’s enchanting floral arrangement and the scent of Sultry Rose wafting from a blown glass bottle by David Colton. Overhead, a stained glass, five-armed chandelier illuminates the cast bronze Tiberinus coffee table, which is fitted with turquoise glass inlays that mimic ponds designed for a quixotic midnight swim. Finally, to spotlight the piece de resistance — a resplendent, contemporary Dioscuri chair hewn from steel with an inflorescence of violet-like, velvet cushions — Buterbaugh installed perfect, individual roses set inside one-inch bud vases.
"Chuck's vision for a meadow lead to Eric integrating elements of the pastoral into the gallery," says Maddie Phinney, Director of Eric Buterbaugh Gallery. "In his land of splendor, miniature bud vases blossom like wildflowers, directly from concrete."
While the finished works offer a romantic juxtaposition between the raw beauty of Buterbaugh’s flora and the rugged tactility of Moffit’s furniture, the process is the ultimate reward for the designer. Each time he makes a mold for his metalworks, there is a residual, an extraction, which reminds him that his materials — much like Buterbaugh’s — are not only wild, but alive.
Chuck Moffit lives and works in Mount Baldy, CA. In 2005, his work was included in Thing: New Sculpture from Los Angeles at the Hammer Museum. Moffit has collaborated on three site-specific installations for High Desert Test Sites, organized by artist Andrea Zittel 2004-2007. Other exhibitions include the solo show Your Becoming Inclusions at Christopher Grimes, 2008 and group exhibitions at the Torrance Museum of Art and OBJCT Gallery. Moffit received his MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 2000 and an Arts/Industry residency at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin in 2006. Moffit has been represented by Blackman Cruz since 2010.
Image: Chuck Moffit, Tiberinus Coffee Table, 2016, 48” diameter x 13” tall, cast bronze, cast glass, patinated steel, photo by Chuck Moffit, courtesy the artist.
About Eric Buterbaugh Gallery
Eric Buterbaugh established his namesake gallery in 2015 as the only project space in Los Angeles committed to showcasing artists who embrace the floral in their practice and work in the medium of scent. The flagship EB Florals perfumery, also on site, lends a base note of feminine elegance and luxury, which the gallery’s exhibiting artists are invited to disrupt, remark upon, or bring into sharper relief.
Angel Ricardo Ricardo Rios: The Pleasure of Soft Things Opening July 21-August 20, 2016
Gallery hours: Monday – Saturday, 11am–6pm
About Blackman Cruz
Blackman Cruz is a ride through a curated collection of intriguing objects and design — brought together by two adventurous minds. Adam Blackman and David Cruz created Blackman Cruz as a resource for collectors and designers who share their passion for integral design, eclectic antiques, and an ever-evolving selection offbeat. The ever-changing selection of unexpected oddities is housed in an equally offbeat location — a former gay nightclub featured in American Gigolo. The 9000-square-foot showroom is also home to Blackman Cruz’s own product line, BC Workshop, as well as works from a roster of contemporary makers such Damian Jones, Jane Hallworth, and Chuck Moffit.
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