UNTITLED (CHAIR & PAINTING) 1987
01 December 2007 – 18 January 2008
Though many contemporary artists are mining the reservoirs of American design history for direction in their fine art practice, Jim Isermann has long been at the forefront of these concerns. Through wall hangings, hand-woven rugs, fabric-covered sculptural cubes and vinyl-patterned murals he embraces the possibility of utopia in all its aesthetic and functional forms.
Isermann's art practice has fixated on the exchange of visual information between abstraction and design, mixing elements of "high" and "low" styles, celebrating the decorative potential of geometric abstraction and reveals the symbiotic relationship between fine and applied art. With these Chair & Paintings, Isermann adapts the formal language of minimalism and abstraction to the utilitarian prescriptions of contemporary design: his eye-popping paintings and patterned sculptures flirt with functionality, embodying abstract modernism's quick evolution into the principles of design.
Jim Isermann explains the starting point of this work, "In 1987 Ilene Seagalove and I collaborated on the concept for Futura, a video installation. Seagalove directed the video and I designed the viewing room. Our starting point was specifically Disneyland's now defunct Rocket to the Moon attraction, and more generally the melancholy engendered from not getting the future we were promised. Nine chairs were configured on a tri level platform in a heptagon shaped room that also included a custom TV console. Seven of the nine heptagon shaped paintings were hung on the walls, one painting was imbedded in the floor and one mounted on the gallery ceiling to replicate the Rocket ship's viewing screens. Although the palette was limited to 7 colors, yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, turquoise and green, each panting was color keyed to match a chair for a purposed life following the exhibition."