Text and Video: Pepi Ginsberg
Photo: Eleonore Hendricks
I first met artist Chris Wolston about two years ago at Sight Unseen OFFSITE, a New York Design Fair which boasts an impressive sampling of the design world’s freshest young talent. Passing by the clean lines and shiny objects, I spotted Chris in his booth next to some striking terra-cotta chairs; squat and impressed with fingerprints and circular patterns, the tops of which were made with a blue woven netting, his work was unlike anything there. The chairs felt life-like and human as if they had been touched and handled and cared for over and over until they could stand on their own. I was taken aback and immediately intrigued. I said hello to Chris, took a card and kept on, but the images of his playful yet profound works stayed in my mind.
Flash forward a year later to Collective Design Fair and I see Chris again standing amidst a new collection, this time of metal chairs and tables, some wildly shiny, others with a dimmer patina, all a completely fresh take on what I later learned was sand-cast aluminum. Again I took a card, again the images of his objects played in my mind.
A few months passed and I reached out Chris for a studio visit at his studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Chris divides his practice between Medallín, Colombia and New York, and explores the landscapes of both cities, allowing the material culture of each to inform his work. The visit spawned the beginning of a long conversation, where I was gifted with the knowledge of how these pieces that I had admired for so long came to be in the first place.
I spent the next two months popping into Chris’s studio to document his latest show coming to life; a series of chair/plant-vessels that evolved from thick slabs of terra-cotta clay into robust and completely uncanny works of art that doubled as functional furniture. Chris was a generous host, allowing me to step into his world and walk with him in a space that functioned outside the confines of a computer’s straight and stringent lines and into the realm of material. His practice is one with its own sense of time where decisions are made intuitively, edged on by the material itself, and always with a deep reverence for exploration, discovery, and play. Our time yielded a short film about Chris’s latest pieces, for a show up now at Patrick Parrish Gallery entitled Garden Party.