Secrets of "Secret Furniture'

The examples of domestic utility at Gallery Lombardi's exhibit "Secret Furniture" -- chairs, tables, dressers, lamps, shelving units -- are such compelling combinations of professional manufacture and artistic vision that they'll be talked about for months to come.

<i>IceLite</i>
IceLite

The examples of domestic utility at Gallery Lombardi's newest exhibit, "Secret Furniture," won't remain secret for long. Many of the works on display -- chairs, tables, dressers, lamps, shelving units -- are such compelling combinations of professional manufacture and artistic vision that they'll be talked about for months to come -- especially by those who had the wherewithal to acquire some of them.

"Those folding tulip chairs by Clay Dillard," people will say, "are the epitome of good design: simple, elegant, sturdy, and a colorful reward to the eye."

"Yes," will be the reply, "and they're so portable -- unlike that Shamrock Chair by Kate Catterall."

"Well, of course Catterall's Shamrock isn't portable. If I owned that gorgeously curving form of fiberglass and resin, I wouldn't ever want it to leave the room."

"You might change your mind if you needed to make space for one of Mark Macek's creations," comes the rejoinder.

"Like that Tropic of Numbers dresser of his, with all that polished Jatoba wood? And, say, wasn't Macek one of the curators of the show?"

Mark Macek is, in fact, a co-curator of "Secret Furniture." He, Michael Stewart, and Gallery Lombardi's own Rachel Koper have gathered a diverse array of works from local artists, industrial designers, and people who have a knack for shaping wood, steel, and glass into functional objects any home would be proud to display. We're further fortunate, in these trying economic times, that one of the most delightful -- and that really is the correct word -- creations is also the most easily affordable. Chris Cavello's IceLite, an ingenious illuminator that holds a simple tea candle within a thick, hollow column of ice, goes for just 20 bucks and is infinitely reusable. (If it sounds more familiar than secret, it's because the Austin designer's light was featured in all its chilly glory on the cover of a recent Signals catalog and has been selling like it's just going into style.) But even the most expensive appointments in this show are, considering the time, effort, and sheer talent that went into them, absolute bargains. Besides, what does it cost to look? This is no furniture showroom, after all, folks; this is simply one of the better offerings in Gallery Lombardi's continuing series of exhibits.

"Secret Furniture" is on display through March 1 at Gallery Lombardi, 910 W. Third. For more information, call 481-1088 or visit www.gallerylombardi.com.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Secret Furniture, Gallery Lombardi, Clay Dillard, Shamrock Chair, Kate Catterall, Mark Macek, Tropic of Numbers, Michael Stewart, Rachel Koper, Chris Cavello, IceLite, Signals

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