Design Days Dubai 2017: Todd Merrill Studio debuts opulent art and design

Natalie Hanson   |   16 - 03 - 2017

In curating an evocative exhibition to present at Design Days Dubai 2017, Todd Merrill Studio is focusing on artists whose works best represent opulence, luxury and permanence.

Working across mediums as diverse as wood, metal, ceramic and stone, the artists included take inspiration from classical and modern design. Each piece on view is unique, highly collectible and crafted from innovative techniques that perfectly marry art and design.

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Image: the Todd Merrill Gallery in New York

Todd Merrill Studio’s inaugural exhibition at Design Days Dubai is anchored with a unique masterwork by Niamh Barry called Walking (2016). This work represents the first major freestanding screen – sculpture of Barry’s career. Inspired by the movement of the human body in motion in its most abstract form, ‘Walking’ was created from solid true bronze inlaid with opaque glass and LEDs. Playing between highly polished metals surfaces and alternating blackened bronze planes with textured edges, Barry’s forms are warmed by the LED line’s perennial glow, which remain illuminated continuously for decades. The warm alabaster-like glass tiles in which the LEDs are encased give an overall effect of delicacy and airiness, while still asserting her strong artistic statement to which viewers universally respond with accolades. Barry’s work truly defines the 21st century: its design is at once materially driven by today’s technology, while at the same time is hand-made by a studio artist singular in her production of each work.

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Commenting on historic design, the gallery will debut Molly Hatch’s newest hand-painted plate installation, Crescere (2017) based on an early 13th century Islamic plate from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Innovations in early Islamic luxury ceramics from this time include “minai ware” which introduced polychrome enamel designs and gilding onto previously glazed and fired pottery. Composed of 37 painted porcelain plates
installed in a geometric honeycomb pattern, each round surface serves as a canvas for the artist’s brush strokes; together, the plates reveal the intricate abstract floral motif of its source material. Its vibrant gold accents reference “minai ware” while the composition of ceramic plates is decidedly contemporary.

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Todd Merrill will also exhibit a selection of legendary American designer, Karl Springer’s most iconic designs (reissued exclusively for Todd Merrill Studio, in partnership with Mark Eckman, President of Karl Springer Ltd.) As the vintage market for Springer has become increasingly rare, Eckman approached the gallery in order to give exclusive rights to reissue Merrill’s hand-picked collection of Springer’s designs that stand the test of time and continue to engage with the contemporary market.

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Iconic designs such as the Free Form Low Tables and Mushroom Lamps, exude the irreverent and non-doctrinaire idiom of bold proportions, highly exotic finishes, and a sometime flashy palette that identified Springer strongly with
his American clientele. His work speaks with the confidence and energy of the highest-end productions associated with the Disco Decade, and now finds new relevance in the contemporary design world.

The exhibition runs until 17th March at Design Days Dubai, in the Dubai Design District (d3).