An Offside Perspective
Monday, 11 May 2015
Duncan Meerding is a Hobart based furniture and lighting designer/maker who received assistance from Arts Tasmania’s Arts and Disability Program to present his solo exhibition ‘From the Side’ at the Sidespace Gallery in April 2014. Duncan is legally blind with concentrated vision in the corner of the pupil, hence the title ‘From the Side’ – which also fits well with the location of the exhibition.
‘From the Side’ featured established works such as the nationally recognised Cracked Log Lamp, along with a large body of new work that complimented Meerding’s established natural environment aesthetic. In ‘From the Side’ Meerding developed the concept of the Cracked Log Lamp to suit additional purposes such as stools which lit up when sat on and the exquisite Cracked Log Pendant Lamps featured above.
Meerding’s interest in light dispersion was clearly evident in ‘From the Side’. Even the unlit, more architectural pieces in the exhibition, featured slits and strong angles conducive to the creation of interesting shadows. The leaf shapes and natural design elements present in Meerding’s work provide a clear connection to the aesthetic created by the Cracked Log, making for a highly cohesive body of work. ‘From the Side’ demonstrated Meerding’s ability to create work that is innovative and beautiful, yet entirely practical in the context of the modern home.
Meerding received $5 000 from Arts Tasmania as part of the former Arts and Disability program to directly facilitate the creation of his first solo furniture and lighting exhibition at the Sidespace Gallery. He sliced the tendon in his wrist at the beginning of 2014 that left his hand fully immobilised for a month, the exhibition almost didn’t happen. However, with support from close friends ‘From the Side’ went ahead and was well received with an estimated 660 people attending throughout the exhibition period. In his own words the grant not only “helped make the show possible, but also gave my practise future direction”.
Since the exhibition the cracked log stool work entitled ‘Stump’ gained second place in the International Lighting Design Award as part of the Canadian based Lighting Architecture Movement Project. ‘Stump’ also went on to be exhibited in Vancouver as well as featuring in a number of North American publications.
Image credit: (left) Cracked Log pendant lights and (right) Light from Shadows whiskey cabinet. Photographer: Jan Dallas