House Chair Series
Reclaimed Douglas Fir
as part of Solo Exhibition at Criteria Gallery, Melbourne
Strongly influenced by Japanese craft and spending much of his time in Japan, Liam Mugavin has similarly, though with less ritual, made furniture from Japanese farmhouses that show off the complex and otherwise hidden wood joinery. These are knowledge containers: communicating aspects of a traditional architectural technology that resists earthquakes and conserves material. In these works for his first solo show in Australia, Mugavin transforms timber from dismantled inner Sydney homes into chairs and a bench. The wood is cut in dynamic, contemporary angles, but with a casualness that belies a deep respect for history and the craft of building; the mark of which is likewise visible in their slots and notches. History and age speaks through the unfinished surfaces on the the backs and legs, but note the great given to the converse seating surfaces. These are stripped back to present contrasting tones and views, natural cracks meticulously filled, and then finished to a satin texture desiring of human touch. In these treatments and in the compositions of planes that create the form of furniture, Mugavin forgoes pretence and does precisely what is required, no more and no less.
Dr. Guy Keulemans
Lecturer UNSW Art & Design