This summer, viewers can expect to see and feel the unexpected in Annie Evelyn: Multiple Impressions, a solo exhibition of recent work by the furniture maker at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC). Punctuated by carpeted shapes that frame her furniture, Evelyn’s installation entices the visitor to experience her craftsmanship firsthand by taking a seat. Using alternative materials to upholster her chairs, she manipulates tessellations of cement and aluminum to create comfortable, squishy seat cushions. These seemingly hard and rigid materials are so surprisingly relaxing to sit on, the experience of interacting with the work is sure to change the viewer’s first impression.
HCCC Curator, Kathryn Hall, explains her appreciation for Evelyn’s work: “At first, I was struck by the beauty of Annie’s patterned upholstery. Whether she is working with the smooth contours of river rocks, spotlighting the natural grooves embedded within tree bark, or fashioning geometric compositions from aluminum, her use of unexpected materials stirs one’s curiosity about the construction of her pieces. After getting to know Annie and visiting her studio, I began to see the parallels between her work and her charming humor and caring personality. While her ingenuity and attention to detail shine through her pieces, her furniture is not meant to be appreciated as delicate eye candy, but rather it begs to be sat upon and enjoyed.”
Evelyn continues to explore new ideas, often working on multiple projects simultaneously and sometimes collaborating with other artists. Her experimental methods tip traditional furniture making on its head. For instance, her recipe for comfort lies within the clever construction of the upholstered seat: most of her furniture includes a layer of foam that conforms to the body. In the exhibition, several unfinished samples demonstrate this process. As an interactive installation, Multiple Impressions inspires a sense of wonder and dares to confront conventions of domestic comfort.