Michael Reynolds exhibition, NYC
R 20th Century Gallery
82 Franklin Street
New York 10013
We tend to feel a sense of pride when one of our troupe goes on to great things. And long-time Wallpaper* stylist Michael Reynolds has done just that, curating a characteristically intriguing exhibition at one of our favourite galleries in New York, R 20th Century.
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Those familiar with Reynolds’ styling will be aware of his penchant for a quirky take on the traditional; it takes something of a master to be able to play with kitsch and keep it cool, but Reynolds has this down pat. His curating debut ‘Sticks, Stones, Bones’, though a bit more demure than some of his shoots, nevertheless bears witness to a lifetime surrounded by beautiful things.
Grouping together fine art, design, antiques, photography and natural objects, there’s something for everyone. Far from just a disparate collection of pretty things though, Reynolds imbues them with a talismanic quality that makes the collection as a whole more significant than the sum of its parts.
Take, for instance, a 19th Century elephant skull from the Belgian Congo, sitting on a 1978 Wendell Castle maple and resin dining table. The natural fluidity of the bones is echoed in the handcrafted, twisted shape of the table – a poetic arrangement entirely unconnected but harmoniously suited.
Reynolds has collected pieces from R 20th Century’s archive as well as New York’s Safani Gallery, Throckmorton Fine Art, Astro Gallery of Gems, Edwynn Houk and Merrin gallery – a collection of establishments that spans photography, antiques, fine art and design, contemporary and vintage.
‘These pieces are living entities,’ explains Reynolds, ‘they contain information and possess the ability to profoundly affect the overall energy of a space’. They also encourage contemplation of the changing nature of the artefact in history and across cultures. The effect is to strip the component parts of their specific cultural significance and appreciate them as a collection based purely on their visual impact instead.