Thursday, November 08, 2012

SOFA Day 3 - Saturday, November 3rd

By Saturday, I had the programme sorted: I wanted to hear the talk about "Mr Imagination" at 4pm, had to meet a friend for lunch at 1pm and knew that I wanted to see a bit more of the city and the amazing architecture of the place.

A Century Of Architecture

One of the things I love about American city architecture is the way that is skips stylistically from Victorian Gothic to Art Deco, often leading to some remarkable mashups.

Gothic Details

My recent interest in Brutalism was piqued by the remarkable "Marina City" towers and I took more photographs of these than of any other building in the place!

Marina City - 3

Forebears with Brutalist Towers

The other building which I thought wonderful is the green marble-clad "Carbon and Carbide" building, which is now an hotel but which retains a grandeur and presence.

Carbon and Carbide Building - 2

It is worth going inside to the foyer to see the superb brasswork on the elevators and grilles and the ceiling patterned with the form of a brilliant-cut diamond:

Carbon and Carbide Building - 8

Carbon and Carbide Building - 7

Back to SOFA!
Apart from the talk in the afternoon - which was excellent, presented by people who had been friends of Mr Imagination's and presented with humour and humanity untainted with sentimentality - it was just a question of wandering around the rest of the show and seeing what was there. As I said yesterday, there is a lot of glass at SOFA: glass is a medium which I enjoy but in which I have no desire to work: relatively simple pieces can still thrill me. By far the most psychological work I found were these wall-pieces by Norman Mooney:

Norman Mooney

They are made from cut glass and are quite enormous. They exert a natural pull, drawing people towards them as any shiny object can do but there comes a point of closeness where a physical fear is manifest: dare I go any closer?

Norman Mooney

Perhaps because I have stood in front of them, this photograph actually brings back the slightly anxious feeling that these pieces gave me! The tension between the formal, almost mathematical beauty, the simplicity of form and colour and the fear of damage - to either the object or self - made these compelling works.

Combining glass with two of my own favourite materials, iron and silver, I loved Rik Allen's "Launch" collection of small sculptures depicting a nostalgic space-race, old movies on wet weekend television...

Rik Allen - "Launch" - 1

Rik Allen - "Launch" - 2

There was one very funny moment when a fellow jeweller noticed that I was wearing a ring with a stone set on the palm-side of the ring: he showed me the rings he was wearing, all of which had stones on the inside, then a friend of his joined us and we excitedly squawked about the joys of setting like this until the somewhat irate gallery owner shooed us away from the front of her stand!

You Need Hands... 1

You Need Hands... 2

Tucked away at the back of the show were some absolutely remarkable encaustic drawings by Matt Duffin, who makes exquisite drawings on his home-made "scraperboards". These are both compelling and slightly sinister:

Matt Duffin - 1

Matt Duffin - 2

Which leaves only my favourite piece in the show, the "Cabinet of Curiosities" by Andy Paiko, made in glass, iron, string and wood:

Andy Paiko - 1

Andy Paiko - 2

That night, I went out on another photo-walk.

Night Cityscape

Then came home to look at my souvenirs...

SOFA Souvenirs

Last day of Chicago tomorrow: no more SOFA.