Skidmore Contemporary Art is pleased to present this exhibition of paintings by Kelly Reemtsen from her Circa series. The works depict classic examples of modern chair design by Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, Verner Panton, Harry Bertoia, Pierre Paulin, Haywood Wakefield, Russell Wright, and Frank Gehry.
The series was born several years ago when Reemtsen noticed a battered Eames chair at a thrift store. Despite the poor condition, it remained an elegant example of 20th century design. Reemtsen bought the chair, did some research, and began restoring it. As she revived the object, she looked at it from every possible angle. Fascinated by the personality of the chair, she painted a portrait of as the final step of restoration. The painting was both documentation and veneration. Additional paintings of the chair seen from above, below, and the side followed.
Inspired by the chair, Reemtsen began foraging through thrift stores and flea markets for more discards of 20th century design. Over time she assembled a collection of mid-century modern chairs which she both lovingly brought back to life and painted.
The culmination of the series of paintings is a grid of 64 chair portraits, each 8” x 8.” Titled Circa, the grid was conceived to be dispersed as individual chairs, sets, or groupings similar to the way in which chairs find their way into people’s lives.