Tuesday, January 12, 2016

One bold, modern stroke can change a room

I’ve seen a lot of GORGEOUS boho rooms of late with big, statement-making works of art. I hesitate to call it a home decorating trend because, well, it’s art. And in a design world populated with so many carefully curated gallery walls, big art ALWAYS makes a huge impression.


What’s the drawback to using big art? A larger canvas costs more, of course.


With affordability in mind, Crate & Barrel has commissioned a limited-time release of 15 statement-making works of art that start at $279 and top out at $499. Early access is web only, but the collection will appear in stores Jan. 15 through March 15. All prints are giclee reproductions of “modern digital canvases” by David Diskin, printed on canvas and framed in slim, black or white, wood frames. 


Crate & Barrel

Pictured with C&B’s new Gia sofa, Isobel accent table and Glint pendant light is the "Crosby" print. A tribute to the muted palette of Cubism and the graphic geometry of 1960s design, this composition anchors blue and gray shapes around a just off-center band of black. It measures 58-by-43 inches and sells for $499.


What’s a ‘modern digital canvas’?


“When we began conceptualizing how our canvas prints could be easily understood, we came up with these three letters as a way to digitize and brand our products,” says Diskin, m-dc artist, founder and creative director. 

“The boundaries of aesthetic concepts like ‘art’ and ‘design’ can be a tricky business. Our canvases are designed to reveal maximum style and beauty. We create imagery that fulfills the needs of specific kinds of interiors, styles and visual concepts.


Crate & Barrel

“As where modern furniture is designed with a physical need in mind, the m-dc is designed only to complete the look of an aesthetic space,” he continues. “We strive to fulfill the need of the eye only. Culled more from the transcendence found in expressionist or minimalist pieces, we are attempting to create imagery that speaks in a pure aesthetic language. We ruminate with color, coolness, shape and spatial relationships. What a piece says is less important to us than how it looks and feels.”

Consequently, these prints are designed to be hung horizontally or vertically, depending on the needs of your space and/or your visual preference.


Okay, well. That’s not fine art, of course, but…


“Our hope is that, to some extent, we can help to democratize the art experience by offering modern canvases that are unto themselves real design objects,” Diskin explains. “The integrity of the process in which they were created reveals the powerful essence of the digital world where the copy is the original and vice versa. In the end, we hope that the transcendent experience of beauty is transposed to you in a way that is real, affordable, well-executed and carefully conceived.”

Artists everywhere are probably bristling at Diskin's statements, but the reality is that most people cannot afford original works of art, especially large-format ones. Of course it makes sense to design a room from the art up, but let's be real: That's not how it often happens. Though still an investment, these prints at least provide some striking, tasteful and affordable alternatives that may help train the eye and get someone interested in exploring the somewhat intimidating world of fine art.


Here are my favorites from the collection…


Crate & Barrel

Streaked with the abstraction of movement, “Yesterday” recreates the blurred image of landscape taken from a moving vehicle. It measures 58 by 25 inches and sells for $349. The collection includes two other prints at this size/price, as well as two extremely horizontal prints measuring 58-by-12.5 inches and priced at $279.


Crate & Barrel

These three canvases all measure 58-by-43 inches, like "Crosby," and sell for $499:
  • Left: In “Woven,” expressive strokes of dark brown interact as a compelling, organic composition that recalls the bold impact of Abstract Expressionism. 
  • Center: Divided up into a complex grid, a satellite image of Bolivia’s rainforest was the jumping-off point for “Bolivian Land.” Minute divisions of green, blue and black make up the intricately detailed image, which references both the natural world and digital media. 
  • Right: Aptly named “Plume” features undulating earth tones that overlap and swirl in a mesmerizing composition reminiscent of smoke and cloud formations.  


Crate & Barrel

“Shower and Sink” is one of two sets of two in the collection measuring 28-inches square and selling for $399. A single, colored ring and center optically activate each painting's concentric gray circles into a swirling vortex. Inspired by mechanical movement and natural tree rings, the two paintings trade off positive and negative value for a dynamic presentation.

They remind me of LP records swirling on a turntable and bring back memories associated with music.


Wait-wait! There's more...


The Crate & Barrel website features 36 additional new framed prints by other artists, ranging in price from $125 to $600, many large format, on paper and canvas.


Crate & Barrel

 A few of the old-timers, like “Lazy Stripes” by Ben Gordon (above, lower right) are even on clearance. Freeform stripes take a gentle arc, streaking from bold to narrow and overlapping in a rainbow of saturated and translucent hues. Gordon's original acrylic on paper work is beautifully reproduced as a giclée print on canvas with a glass coating. At 36-by-48 inches, it sold originally for $500 and is marked down to $424.97.


Crate & Barrel

“Geometrique” by Rachel Pavlic is a steal at $259.97 (originally $450). Greatly influenced by early 20th-century Cubism, Pavlic interprets the groundbreaking style for a new generation. Using the white space of the ground as integral elements of her composition, she creates a mosaic of rounded grey forms interspersed with shapes of soft, primary colors. A simple frame in charcoal-stained fir surrounds this signed giclée print of the original oil painting reproduced on canvas that measures 50-by-38 inches.

So get your art on, and remember to go BIG.


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