Chicago artist and furniture designer William FitzPatrick’s new book, “WORK,” catalogs a collection of chairs, lights and constructed interiors from the past five years of his design career. Each piece of furniture, and accompanying photo, is a vignette about the relationship within art, construction, and design—and between rationality and experimentation. The book is at once a showcase of FitzPatrick’s design and a representation of the same design aesthetic and geometric shapes that are present in his work.
Inspired by architecture, FitzPatrick’s signature experimental chairs are arranged in photos taken around Chicago. The images are a study in modernism and shape, positive and negative space, and the border between experimental form and function. “WORK” offers subtle views of traditional spaces, with a perspective that would elude a casual viewer. Muscular materials reinforce sharp angles in and around the pieces; positions of the pieces distort a viewer’s perception and offer another layer to what may seem a straightforward piece of furniture. The most striking aspects of the presentation are brightly lit sculptures that brighten black pages, while chairs align with the angles of the book.
The relationship between art, design and construction is brought into sharp relief with FitzPatrick’s insistence on a DIY aesthetic. The design is preoccupied concrete, glass, wood with chipped paint and other urban artifacts. But the context, in FitzPatrick’s carefully staged images, is strikingly minimal, whether in outdoor, home or retail environments.
FitzPatrick’s work is another investigation of the border between functionality and experimentation. Reminiscent of the sensibility of Italian furniture design, such as that of Enzo Mari, his forms are both individual and versatile. “WORK” mediates between different traditions, adds a layer of grit and manages to produce a beautiful result. (Audrey Victoria Keiffer)
By William FitzPatrick
CreateSpace, 88 pages, $18