Dark arts: Bec Brittain’s bewitching exhibition casts a spell on us

Installation view of ‘Strange Days’ by Bec Brittain.
Installation view of ‘Strange Days’ by Bec Brittain, presented in collaboration with Alex P White and Material Lust.
(Image credit: Lauren Coleman)

New York designer Bec Brittain often draws on celestial and metaphysical references in her sculptural, otherworldly lighting pieces in brass and coloured glass. But for ‘Mercury’ (2015) the architecture-trained talent sought to reconnect with a more tactile material palette.

The all-black design – comprising 35 strands of LED lights interspersed with obsidian, jasper, and agate beads and a sensual heaping of leather and suede tassels – is the centrepiece for ‘Strange Days’, a group exhibition at her studio featuring work by Alex P White and design duo Material Lust.

Although Patrick Parrish Gallery debuted ‘Mercury’ at Design Miami two years ago, ‘other than those four days, it’s been in storage’, says Brittain, who relocated her workspace from Brooklyn to Manhattan’s bustling NoMad neighbourhood earlier this spring. ‘Now that we finally have a space to install it in, we’re excited to show it—it’s one of my favourite pieces: this is sort of the dark, moody side of me.’

Bec Brittain with Alex P White and design duo Material Lust

Bec Brittain with Alex P White and design duo Material Lust

(Image credit: TBC)

To complement the installation, Brittain called on her friends to share works that would resonate with 'Mercury', configured here in a monumental, triangular arrangement draped from floor to ceiling. Flanked by a pair of armchairs by White (a former lead collaborator of Kelly Behun) and velvet furnishings and Wicca chic seating by Material Lust, the atmosphere is decidedly moody, an elegant paean to some pagan spirit, perhaps, and a spellbinding celebration of dark-hued forms.

Brittain’s own handiwork – she created, knotted and braided each of the leather tassel strands herself – is a throwback to her early jewellery collections, consisting of large knotted rope necklaces and body harnesses she characterises as ‘daytime bondage’. She certainly has roped us in.

Brittain’s ‘Mercury’ installation

Brittain’s ‘Mercury’ installation comprises 35 strand of LED lights interspersed with obsidian, jasper, agate beads, and leather and suede tassels

(Image credit: TBC)

Installation view of ‘Strange Days’

Installation view of ‘Strange Days’

(Image credit: TBC)

Left, ‘Mercury’, by Brittain. Right, furniture, by Material Lust

Left, ‘Mercury’, by Brittain. Right, furniture, by Material Lust

(Image credit: TBC)

Installation view of ‘Strange Days’

Installation view of ‘Strange Days’

(Image credit: TBC)

Brittain’s lighting pieces in brass and coloured glass

Brittain’s lighting pieces in brass and coloured glass

(Image credit: TBC)

NFORMATION

‘Strange Days’ is on view until 14 October. For more details, visit Bec Brittain’s website (opens in new tab)

ADDRESS

Bec Brittain
27 West 20th Street
New York

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