Straddling the worlds of art, design and craft, Schanck’s furniture is a high-end hybrid, fully functional as furniture, and provocative and intriguing as conceptual objects. The Detroit-based artist uses a unique ‘ALUfoil’ process, enshrining refuse and industrial materials in aluminum foil, which are then sealed in resin. In not only his use of found materials, Schanck’s work reflects Detroit, a city that is full of growth and decay. Schanck’s furniture has a similar feel, its fragmented forms and textures evoking both deconstruction and fragile new growth.
In Chris Schanck’s solo exhibition at Friedman Benda, furniture seems capable of taking on a life of its own. The show's title, ‘Unhomely’, warns us not to get too comfortable. The play on 'home' and 'homely' advises us to look beyond the beautiful exteriors of the objects that inhabit our homes. While Schanck’s sculptural furniture could be reassuring objects of convenience, its otherworldly forms suggest it might have its own plans once we turn our backs. Combining rough, organic textures and vibrant colors, Schanck’s works seem like alien lifeforms. Perhaps the natural furnishing of another world (like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, or a planet Barbarella might visit), ‘Unhomely’ reminds us of the duality of our own home, Earth, which is rapidly changing, and can be both maternal and hostile to us. This biomorphic furniture looks like it grew out of the earth, but not an earth we know or are familiar with, another one that might not be welcoming to us. In an uncertain, even dystopian future, Schanck’s furniture would like right at home.
Chris Schanck’s ‘Unhomely’ is at Friedman Benda, 515 W 26th Street, New York, through April 14.