MOUNT DESERT — The Gallery at Somes Sound will start its 2015 season on May 15 with a collaborative event with Pritam & Eames, an East Coast gallery that specializes in American studio furniture.
“In addition to the artists and furniture makers that the Gallery at Somes Sound traditionally represents, this cooperative venture with Pritam & Eames puts us in touch with work by artist-craftsmen of international standing, like Wendell Castle, Judy Kensley McKie, and Garry Knox Bennett, among others,” said Tyra Hanson, director of the gallery.
“Both The Gallery at Somes Sound and Pritam & Eames share a long-term commitment to 21st-century fine art and fine furniture. We see our collaboration as a way to deepen this commitment by educating, stimulating and encouraging an appreciation of work by contemporary artists and artisans that represents the highest standard of artistry and skill,” Hanson said.
For its inaugural show at The Gallery at Somes Sound, Pritam & Eames will exhibit the work of Wendell Castle, Judy Kensley McKie and Garry Knox Bennett, three pre-eminent figures in the American studio furniture movement. Castle is widely collected and has works in the permanent collections of more than 40 museums and cultural institutions around the world, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Canada; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Castle also has been the recipient of many honors and awards, including four National Endowment for the Arts grants, three honorary degrees, the American Craft Council Gold Medal and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Brooklyn Museum of Art and The Furniture Society. Considered an icon in contemporary design, Castle has been the subject of numerous books, articles and films, the most recent is “Wendell Castle: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1958-2012,” (The Artist Book Foundation). Castle’s home and studio is in Scottsville, N.Y.
Judy Kensley McKie was born in Boston and studied painting at RISD, where she received a BFA in 1966. McKie’s use of animal, bird and fish imagery in her furniture is well established. Equally compelling, however, are her carved, abstract-pattern pieces, which date back to the early 1970s and her days as a beginning woodworker. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco; the Frederick Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Museum of Art & Design, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the De Cordova Museum, Lincoln, Mass.; the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio; the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; the Vice President’s Residence, Washington, D.C.; Jack Lenor Larsen’s LongHouse Foundation, East Hampton, N.Y.; the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, R.I.; and the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn. McKie’s public outdoor pieces include a bronze sculpture, Ibis Ascending, in the Garden of Peace, Boston, Mass.; and five bronze jaguar benches in a small Paris park in the 5th Arrondissement. McKie lives in Cambridge, Mass. with her husband, artist Todd McKie.
Garry Knox Bennett, a California native, also has been the subject of numerous books, articles and exhibition catalogues including New American Furniture: The Second Generation of Studio Furniture Makers, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1989, and The Maker’s Hand: American Studio Furniture 1940-1990, also published by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2003. Among his honors and awards, Bennett received The Furniture Society’s Award of Distinction in 2004; in 1996, he was inducted into the College of Fellows by the American Craft Council; and, in 1984, he was awarded a Visual Artist’s Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Bennett’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Arts & Design, New York; De Young Museum, San Francisco, Calif.; Fine Arts Museum, Mobile, Ala.; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass.; Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Montreal Museum of Art, Montreal, Canada; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Oakland Museum, Oakland, Calif. Bennett’s home and studio is in his beloved Oakland, Calif.