WOVEN FORMS: R & Company taps notable designers to create hand-woven artisan rugs

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Upon entering the exhibition Woven Forms at gallery R & Company’s light-filled and airy pop-up location in Tribeca, the eye is swiftly drawn to David Wiseman’s Paradise, a super-sized asymmetrical carpet with animal and bird motifs positioned adjacent to Lluis Lleó abstract Rupia, a play on color and light. This is a fine introduction to what follows—a stylistically diverse, dazzling array of plush, hand-woven, and intricately designed rugs fresh from their successful debut last May at the 57th International Art Exhibition in Venice.

Woven Forms is a collaboration between R & Company and the renowned Italian luxury carpet maker Amini. The gallery’s co-founder and project curator Evan Snyderman’s aim was to challenge artists working in the decorative arts to be open to the possibilities of working in a new medium, and offered them the opportunity to partner with Amini’s highly skilled weavers in India and Nepal.

Woven Forms from R & Company on Vimeo.

“With Woven Forms we wanted to break from the standard process of turning existing works by famous artists into carpets,” says Snyderman. “So we asked a group of ten artists with varying styles to consider form, materials, and process, and to incorporate their individual styles into creating new works using silk and wool.”

In addition to David Wiseman and Lluis Lleó, Snyderman invited well-known designers Dana Barnes, Wendell Castle, Rogan Gregory, The Hass Brothers, Hun-Chung Lee, Renate Müller, Katie Stout, and Thaddeus Wolfe. Each embraced the idea of pushing their natural talents, and with interesting results.

Dana Barnes’s series Retold layers an antique Persian Rug with knotted, felted, twisted, and braided wool and silk fibers, simulating a sense of movement.

Wendell Castle, America’s master craftsman of furniture design, harbored an interest in painting. Using his never-before-displayed-small canvasses as the basis to fabricate multi-dimensional pieces, he separated hairs on paintbrushes bleeding eighty-five colors (up from the usual 16)— a project a year in the making.

The Haas Brothers’ Basic Instinct series is a candy-color group of animated animals, a humorous take on the commercially popular cowhide rugs; and Renate Müller’s Bird and Universe is inspired by the artist’s work with children.

These eye-catching special editions upend the notion of the rug as simply a decorative floor covering, and elevate it to a masterful work of contemporary art—and a coveted collector’s item.

Open only by appointment through the end of December, 2017.

R & Company, 82 Franklin Street, NYC, 10013

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Right Lluis Lleó, Rupia (2016), Left: David Wiseman, Paradise( 2016)

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