The work of American designer and sculptor Wells Mason, whose Postminimalist art, with clean lines and simple forms, often comment on a particular idea or moment in time, will be on exhibit Jan. 14 – Feb. 11 in the College of Architecture’s Wright Gallery, located on the second floor of Building A in the Langford Architecture Center on the Texas A&M campus.
An artist’s reception for the exhibit, “Wells Mason: Designer, Sculptor, Collaborator,” is scheduled 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27.
“You might say Mason’s oeuvre grapples with modernism versus tradition, with rampant consumerism versus sustainability, with strict functionality of craft versus design with a message — and you’d be right on all three counts,” said Lorraine Cademartori, a staff writer with Forbes magazine.
In his Umasi Collection, Mason blurs the line between sculpture and furniture with manmade materials such as stainless steel and tempered glass colliding with exquisitely finished wood and salvaged materials such as a telephone pole, recycled rubber and bicycle parts.
“Each piece is a shotgun marriage of materials with panels that collide into organic elements,” said Mason. “Since the collection is about blurred lines and colliding intersections, it doesn’t fit into a neat category, and it doesn’t try to be pure anything. It’s decidedly in-between, and it’s entirely experimental.”
The collection, Mason continued, draws attention to what our society throws away, and it suggests alternate uses for debris.
“It’s also a ready platform for other forms of social commentary, with references to art history, contemporary culture, even the politics of war,” he said.
Mason’s chairs, benches, and tables are simultaneously playful and, with their stark joining of organic and man-made materials, aesthetically and intellectually challenging, said Cademartori.
In his Mirror Series, Mason explores image obsession, vanity and the changing definition of what’s considered beautiful, as well as real or imagined images people have of themselves.
“Because of social media platforms and our individual ability to control these platforms, we’re experiencing an unparalleled level of obsession with our own images. As a result, we’re also experiencing an unparalleled level of cognitive dissonance,” he said.
Based in Coupland, Texas, Mason earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin and is a native of Atlanta, Georgia.
His work has been in solo exhibitions at galleries in New York and Dallas and in group exhibitions in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Pittsburgh, New York, Mesa, Ariz. and Corpus Christi, Texas.
Mason’s work is part of a series of Wright Gallery exhibits for the 2014-15 academic year.
The next exhibit, “You Are Here,” will feature paintings and sculptures by Austin artist Jennifer Chenoweth Feb. 13 – March 12.