Thursday, May 8, 2014


There's an aspect of being an interior designer that transcends the intersection of space and d├ęcor adding another dimension of attraction and a bonding friendship. It's a benefit, a perk, bestowed from client to designer when the chemistry works. I've been lucky enough to find this in most of my clients but one of my most treasured gifts has been the bond I formed with Alice Hope.
We started our relationship when Alice bought our design services at a charity auction benefiting the school both our kids were attending. She bought a two-hour consultation six years ago and we're still working on her one-bedroom apartment. It's more a labor of love at this point.
Alice's apartment was a challenge from a space planning perspective. It's a one-bedroom apartment she shares with her teenage daughter. In true motherly sacrificial form Alice gave the bedroom to her daughter and had a Murphy bed built in the living room for herself. Quarters were tight and privacy was at a premium. Maybe because the challenge of trying to find space she could call her own was what hit her in the face the minute she unlocked the front door there wasn't a lot of effort put into letting the apartment reflect her personality. Alice is a very vivacious woman who was living in an all white apartment, not very inspiring. Alice is also an artist.
In the literary world they say you aren't a writer until you've been published. In the art world you're not considered an artist until you've had a show, a review and a sale. Alice is an artist.
So we threw a bucket of sunshine into the space. We hit it with tangerine and lemon curd and then we smashed some key lime for a little complimentary tang.
We searched the flea markets and vintage stores of Manhattan and Brooklyn salvaging chairs and daybeds and then had them reupholstered in nubby textured retro fabrics with contrasting trim.
We found one-of-a-kind lamps and topped them with fifties fabric shades.
We unearthed a panel from a now disassembled merry-go-round and hung it over the TV.
Then we added some of the art from both the artist and her fledgling artist daughter.
What was once an uninspiring environment is now a space filled with hope.

The bag most artists carry with them is usually filled with either oils, a set of DaVinci watercolors or a big wad of clay. Alice's cart is filled with magnets, metal filings and discarded pop tabs. Her work is transforming the discarded into statements of cultural relevancy.
The first assemblages of Alice's that I saw were her magnets and ball-and-chain pieces. They became, at first, a statement of attraction and repulsion. Most conceptual art goes over my head. If I can't respond to it for its ultimate beauty mind is quickly out the door and the rest of me is soon to follow.
Fortunately for me, and our friendship, I drool over most of Alice's work. The flow and sensuality of these wall installations keep me totally engaged every time I see them.
It's attraction times three: the literal attraction of the magnets, the compulsion to reach out and touch the amazing textures in her work and then the visual attraction of following the chains and balls as they sway and bend.
Her current exhibit at the Ricco Maresca Gallery in New York is called simply, "Tab". By chance Alice found 700 pounds of aluminum tabs at a recycling center.
Maybe because of her obsession with low profile castaways Alice was able to extrapolate desire, consumption and then obsolescence from this ever-visible yet ultimately invisible object.
Whether she transformed them into functional objects like a chandelier or hung them using binary code Alice brought their symbolism but for me most importantly their beauty to my appreciative eye.
Alice's show will be up through May 24th

Between Heaven and Earth
El Anatsui, Artist from Ghana
Woven foil wine bottle wrappers
On display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

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