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Carpenters Workshop Gallery hosts The New Guard: Stories from the World
Installation view of ‘The New Guard: Stories from the World’ exhibition
Image: Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery

Carpenters Workshop Gallery hosts The New Guard: Stories from the World

The exhibition showcases the works of emerging studios from the US and Caribbean area

by Almas Sadique
Published on : Jan 27, 2022

American art and design gallery, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, is currently hosting an exhibition called ‘The New Guard: Stories from the World’ at their New York venue. Curated by Anna Carnick, Wava Carpenter, and Ashlee Harrison, the exhibition was inaugurated on 20 October 2021 and will remain on view until 29 January 2022. This exhibition, first in the gallery’s The New Guard series, showcases the works of seven emerging studios hailing from across the world and based in the US and Caribbean.

‘The New Guard: Stories from the World’ exhibition hosts seven emerging studios Image: Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery

“As an ensemble, the independent talents invited to participate in Stories for the New World offer an illuminating snapshot of the rising generation of designers in and around the United States in 2021. Though geographically scattered and influenced by a range of personal experiences, they each approach their preferred materials with a fresh perspective to create hand-wrought, highly sculptural, narratively driven forms, embracing an idiosyncrasy that stands in defiance of the prevailing commercialism of design culture in America,” said the curators in a joint statement.

Born out of an attempt to showcase design works that challenge Euro-centric sensibilities and that herald the New World, the installations offer a glimpse into the heritage, location and identity of its creators. “The exhibition speaks to the now beyond borders, emphasizing design as autobiography, designers as raconteurs, and objects as poetic artifacts of the human experience,” the curators said, talking about the objects that populate the gallery’s exhibit.

‘Between Rise and Fall’ by Maryam Turkey Image: Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Installations at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery Image: Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery

While these installations clearly borrow inspiration from personal experiences and cultural references, they are unique from the designs that define their communities and regions. The objects in the gallery encourage conversations and discourses and concretise the arrival of the fresh new ideas and voices that are slowly changing the landscape of contemporary design.

The artists and designers that have been showcased at the exhibition include Tiarra Bell, Jerome Byron, Ibiyane, Isabella Maroon, Anubha Sood, Maryam Turkey and Susannah Weaver. Resonating the current landscape of disruption and division in the world, the pieces at the exhibition embody complexity and dissonance that is intriguing and beguiling.

Mirror by Tiarra Bell Image: Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery
Tiarra Bell with her installation ‘Bondage’ Image: Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery

Furniture designer Tiarra Bell sculpts objects from wood. Born in Philadelphia, Bell uses her Christian faith as an inspiration to create pieces that often appear like portals. Guided by spiritualism, her designs are imbued by a meditative quality. Although functional in nature, they invite users to sit back, relax and introspect. Her exhibits at the gallery: round wood mirrors and lighting products, lined with a gold tint, carry the same warmth, ushering viewers in to experience something magical and otherworldly.

Jerome Byron with his ‘Patina collection’ Image: Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery

Jerome Byron is an architect and designer who experiments with common industrial materials like metal, concrete and glass fiber to create objects that disrupt their Brutalist features. He was born in New York and currently resides in Los Angeles. His Patina collection, showcased at The New Guard exhibition, is a physical manifestation of the cultural pressures experienced in extant societies. He expresses this by layering metal with different textures created by treating the surface with different corrosive substances.

‘Elombe’ by Ibiyane Image: Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery

Ibiyane is helmed by Tania Doumbe Fines and Elodie Dérond, who hail from Cameroon and Martinique respectively. Ibiyane means ‘to know one another’ in Tanga, an expression that serves as the guiding principle for the design studio. Driven by the belief that conversations can open a world of opportunities for change and improvement in the world, the duo designs functional objects that also herald as physical manifestations of the African heritage. Their Alè collection is accompanied by an original poem that narrates the memory of a household setting and assigns the role of grandchild, father and grandmother to the furniture pieces.

Isabella Maroon with her ‘In Parts’ collection Image: Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery

Isabella Maroon is a Colorado-based ceramic artist. Her In Parts collection is part of an ongoing exploration of memory, destruction and resurrection. It comprises several small entities that have been stacked together at different times to form a cohesive object that represents both the present and past and serves as an ode to our ever-evolving identities.

Anubha Sood with her installation ‘Between Salt & Water’ Image: Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery

Anubha Sood is an Indian textile artist who spends her time exploring different bio-materials like bacteria, human hair and seagrass. Currently based in New York, her work is informed by the conscious realisation of the impact that the textile industry has had on the environment. Through her exploration of materials, she aims to connect and engage with her environment. Between Salt & Water is an attempt in the same direction. Woven out of kelp, cotton and rayon, the pieces react to the environment around them, producing salt crystals and changing colours with a shift in humidity. “The works, like our own bodies, are in constant flux, responding to the conditions of their immediate environment,” Sood explains. Further, their “precarious nature acts as a reminder to attend to our water and land with urgency and care.”

Maryam Turkey with her ‘Between Rise & Fall’ collection Image: Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery

Iraqi-American artist and designer, Maryam Turkey specialises in functional art. Her migration as a refugee from Iraq to America heavily influences her creative process and features distinctly in her final designs and objects. In her Between Rise & Fall collection, she borrows inspiration from her memories of the two metropolises that have shaped her life: Baghdad and New York, and creates a cityscape that houses both the vacant Baghdadi homes and the silenced city of New York during the pandemic. Characterised by surfaces that are partially lit up and partially dark, her installation represents the never ending cycle of building, destroying and rebuilding.

Susannah Weaver with her ‘Mimetic collection’ Image: Courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery

New York based product designer Susannah Weaver experiments with different materials to create unique objects that are not only defined by their forms, but also with their visual and tactile qualities. Her Mimetic collection aims to critique the enduring ideals of 20th century design and present an alternate way of seeing the world by questioning normalised ideals, beliefs and rules.

The New Guard: Stories from the World’ exhibition will remain on display (by appointment) from 20 October 2021 to 29 January 2022 at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery in New York.

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