Thursday, November 8, 2012

The White Mountain Breakfront

The White Mountain Breakfront with the doors closed.

Here it stands, the sum of all the parts that were in the previous post, The White Mountain Breakfront.
A collaboration by Furniture Master David Lamb and artist James Aponovich, a work that draws on the unique talents of each individual yet, the result of this pairing brings forth a spectacular piece of furniture.

A Visual Tour

 The doors open...
 revealed is an Aponovich painting, a still life set against an almost mythical White Mountain landscape that spans four seasons featuring winter in the central panel.
On the lower case there are four painted ovals that represent what Aponovich & Lamb refer to as the 'aspects' of New Hampshire, more about that shortly.

 As mentioned in the previous post, An Artistic Collaboration, David Lamb's attention was drawn to the designs created by frost on the windows of his house.

The beautiful exterior of the four upper doors is a translation in wood of that vision using crotch birch inlay to create the frost like fractal patterns that David kept noticing during the cold winter months here in New Hampshire. The  birch was selected for its natural patterns, color and the fact that it referenced the furniture making of Portsmouth, NH. over the past centuries. Lamb, the skilled cabinet maker  he is, was able utilize  all this character from the wood in creating these astonishing doors.

The doors of the Breakfront open and fold back to this remarkable Aponovich painting, a triptych with winter once again taking a starring role.
The left panel is warm with  the summer color  of daylilies from our garden, and a lush green landscape that transitions into autumn with apples russet oaks.  The central panel  takes us into winter white  and snow punctuated by the colorful basket of fruit. Here even the cloth takes on the white of winter and the sugar spilling from the sugar bowl brings to mind snow. Continue to the right and spring begins to emerge with  a vase full of lilacs and a landscape that begins to transition from early spring
 and return us to  summer.

Looking up, the carved frieze that spans the crown of the Breakfront is David Lamb's version of the 'aspects' of New Hampshire. The frieze is carved in both high and low relief.  Images that represent the mountains, seacoast, industry, agriculture, and Native Americans of New Hampshire are generally in low relief and the flora of the state that meander throughout are carved in a high relief. Above, pine cones of the  majestic White Pine are centered on the carved frieze where, from that point, the eye  travels across the Breakfront's crown.

James painted the 'aspects' on the four ovals that are inset on the lower doors of the Breakfront. The morning glories are set against  a seascape of the NH coast.
  Dating back to the China trade, the harbor of Portsmouth was, and remains, important to the economy of the state, with commerce, ship building and tourism all part of the mix.

Another oval  depicts the industry of the state, here the mills of Nashua that once gave rise to a textile industry and brought growth to the towns and cities along the Merrimack River.
A third oval represents the agricultural aspect, with a crop covered field and a farm. The fourth, a look to the mountains, so important to the economy and identity of New Hampshire.

So, there it is, a very brief story of two collaborators and The White Mountain Breakfront.
If you are in New England between now and January 6th, you might want to
 make a trip over to The Currier Museum of Art to take a look at this unique and incredible piece of American furniture created by two masters, who by the way, were both born and bred in New Hampshire.

But wait, there is a third collaborator in this story.

The third collaborator is the patron and in this case patrons, Tom and Shannon.
James painted this oval for the crown of the Breakfront to symbolize the four individuals with four maple leaves that came together to realize this project.
Tom and Shannon are true patrons that took the leap to make this happen.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

An Artistic Collaboration

It has been in the works for weeks, months, years, this latest collaboration
 between artist James Aponovich and Furniture Master David Lamb. This project 
 is the result two of creative minds and four skilled hands coming together in this place called New Hampshire and in this time.

The concept for this piece, The White Mountain Breakfront, began to churn after a visit several years ago to Bretton Woods and The Mount Washington Hotel. James and David were both attending an Arts conference when their conversation about a breakfront began. 
A layer was added when David, who lives with his wife Janet in an antique cape, began to take note of frost patterns that would form on the original old windows of the house in winter.
James, who was NH Artist Laureate at the time (  David Lamb currently holds that honored title), had been traveling around the state doing drawings and paintings  as he revisited sites painted by artists such as Cole, Church, Kensett and Bierstadt.

A meeting of minds one might say.

The concept was born for the newest 'Lambovich' collaboration, The White Mountain Breakfront.
Like the artists of the Renaissance, this project needed an additional element, a third participant to havethe saws, planes and brushes to be put to work. 
As Michelangelo needed Julius II, ( see previous blog post) or the artists of Florence needed the Medici's to commission works of art, the Aponovich / Lamb concept needed a patron to bring it into being.

And so it happened!
David's saws were put to work cutting New Hampshire birch

In James' studio a small mock up, that they refer to as "Punch & Judy" ( a reference to a puppet theatre show), with painted sketches of Lamb's frost doors and Aponovich's White Mountain still life.

Are you starting to get the picture?

Seasons in New England came and went........
The bottom case of the breakfront began to take shape.

Lamb and Aponovich both share a keen attention to detail in their work.
Here, as the piece progressed you can see the graceful feet and the splendid use of different wood that will give this breakfront a unique brilliance.

Many conversations and ideas were exchanged during this collaboration.

In David's Canterbury studio the breakfront case was being made, wood was being cut and  carefully selected.
In Hancock, James was busy at the easel painting the panels for the interior of the Breakfront.  James and I made several trips to the White Mountains where he  gathered ideas and did sketches in each season preparing for this three panel triptych.

Aponovich's paintings are a blend of reality, concept and fantasy. A peek at the White Mountain landscape with cliffs, mountains and a river flowing through the valley.

A detail of the largest central panel with clementine, grapes and a plum all are painted in Aponovich's distinct style of real and imagined.

The crown of the Breakfront  shown nearly complete in Lamb's studio. Note the contrasting woods and golden crotch NH birch. Remember the picture of the snow covered birch logs that David had cut?  Those logs were transformed into the arch shaped birch pattern spanning the crown.The white oval will be filled with an oval painted by James. 
Reveal and conceal....
There are 5 painted ovals, one on the crown and one on each of four lower doors.
The Aponovich ovals and the frieze of carving by David's hand on the crown refer to the 'aspects' of New Hampshire.
More on that soon.

I cannot give too much away right now and I can only show details due to the fact that The White Mountain Breakfront is to be unveiled at The Currier Museum of Art on November 1st.

I can tell you this........The White Mountain Breakfront is stunning.

Once the piece has been unveiled, I will show you the sum of all the parts  and details.
Stay tuned.