Modernist design gets a lot of flak lately, when it’s not being upsold by entities like Design Out of Reach. At its best, though, it is thoughtful, accessible and charming, characteristics emphasized in For Modern Resting, a fall exhibition at the Irvine Fine Arts Center by Erik Benjamins in collaboration with Shannon Finnegan, Lauren Godfrey and the design studio Norma (now on view at Marta gallery in LA). Spare plywood furniture? Check. Chartreuse cushions and earth-toned rug? Check. Clever cedar bench with metal shoe tray insert? Check. Monochromatic silhouetted wall clocks? Check. All of these might be expected, and done with care they are. Surprises await elsewhere. The cushions bear a tender embroidered message, the walls a curious airbrushed one. The rug is not pile but dozens of ceramic reflexology tiles, meant to be trod by those who’ve removed their shoes at the bench. Walking, meanwhile, activates the poem of fragments scrawled along the borders of the tiles. Having done that, plenty of places are available for a joyful rest.
—Lori Waxman 2021-01-19 2:00 PM