Dressed for Excess: Painted Furniture from the Past
by Roy Davis
Opening Reception / Friday / Feb 9 / 5-7pm
About twenty years ago I acquired some pieces of old wooden furniture--a fancy Victorian splat back chair, an ornate pedestal/lamp on view in this exhibit and three 19th century courtroom chairs (not shown in this exhibit). They sat in a storage shed in my backyard for a long time until I thought it might be fun to give them new lives. For decades they led very serious, purposeful lives in dimly lit Victorian homes and drab courtrooms and offices. Since they now lived at my place I wanted them to have some fun (or at least be fun to look at). So, using spray enamels and other unlikely design elements--aquarium gravel, pipe tobacco, articles of clothing, hairy horse hide, etc. --I dramatically changed their appearance as well as their purpose from mere function to art. I like to think I gave them a sense of humor and made them more fun to live with.
Along the way, my friends Wayne and Kay Bates liked what I was doing and asked me to build a couple of items for their new home--headboard cabinets for their bedroom and an enclosed, combined bed/TV stand for their new puppy (TV on top/puppy below). In the meantime, they bought a half-dozen unfinished antique cabinets and a small occasional table. Wayne asked if I'd be interested in painting them for him and Kay with--get this--no restrictions imposed. Wayne has strong opinions about what he calls "matchy-matchy" art. I took that to mean "anything goes."
Making a short story long, it took almost fifteen years but I finished the last one in the past week--just in time for this exhibition. Don't get me wrong. There is not fifteen years of labor involved. I worked on them as the spirit moved me, working in between other commissions from my coffin clients and occasions of low energy and inspiration. The final piece was finished two weeks before this exhibition.
So, here's hoping you have even a fraction as much fun looking at them as I had in making them. And please be sure to thank Wayne and Kay for their enduring patience.
Special thanks to our business sponsors, Clean Cut Lawn Service and Lucky's Grill & Pub!