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joseph holmes







Artist's Statement

This recent work is an attempt to synthesize the orthodoxy of high modernism with the decentralized, counterculture values of the Back to the Land movement. While these seemingly disparate movements had different founding ideals and prescriptions for change, they shared ambitious utopian goals, and their ultimate failures are both compelling and instructive. I work primarily with softwoods, offcuts and reclaimed construction lumber; materials not traditionally used for fine furniture. They’re unassuming, cheap and readily available--a modern American vernacular material--perhaps this is why they appear in late 20th century publications that encouraged self-reliance. These utilitarian woods suggest accessibility, both physically and philosophically, and a flattening of social and economic hierarchies. I carefully select and mill material for tight, straight grain. My intent is to maintain the materiality and integrity of wood, while avoiding distracting or uniquely attractive grain patterns. In doing so I mimic modernist design--materials that appear unassuming and plain upon first glance but reveal character and visual interest the as one spends time with them.

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