Ascent by Barber Osgerby, Haunch of Venison
Jay Osgerby likes planes. He grew up near a Royal Airforce base in Oxfordshire and watched the planes ascend and descend. Edward Barber likes boats and sailed as a child. Ascent, the pair’s debut show at London’s Haunch of Venison - the penultimate show at the gallery’s temporary Burlington Gardens home - picks up on this love of boats and plane design, if as elegant abstractions.
The exhibition’s eight limited-edition pieces are fantastic fins, foils and glowing discs. ’Those things that have evolved or that have been engineered to move swiftly through air or water often have an intrinsic formal beauty,’ says Osgerby. So Foil V looks like part of a remarkable polished-brass plane. And Planform Array V and Planform Array H, huge eight- and 13-piece mobiles with each wooden segment wrapped in Japanese paper, come off like tributes to the earliest aviators.
The pair also brought in craftspeople used to working with complex designs. They collaborated with a British boat builder on Frame 1, for instance. ’All these pieces are produced by skilled craftspeople who are able to combine computer-aided production techniques with their traditional skills,’ says Barber, ’something we refer to as "engineered craft".’