Midcentury meets medieval in ‘Beyond Ornament’

Jun 23, 2018
Jon Merritt’s “Dragonblage II” is a 2016 acrylic on five panels.

Rockland — Steel House Projects will present “Jon Merritt: Beyond Ornament,” on view from June 24 through July 28 at the gallery of Steel House South, 639 Main St. There will be a 5 to 7 p.m. reception Saturday, June 30.

In “Beyond Ornament,” a collection of painting and sculpture, Merritt pulls from the contrasting approaches of the man-made, geometrical works of mid-century design; and the celebration of nature found in illustrations and decorative works of early 20th-century artists. In the Dragonblage series, he utilizes a painting system that informs endless iterations: each composition of a technologically inspired dragon figure includes a unique sequence of body segments of at least four legs and a tail at the end.

Out of more than 100 designs, a selection of final compositions has been realized through fabrication; and two of these compositions are on view in “Beyond Ornament.” From these compositions, Merritt has extracted “furniture” shapes — sculptural works that reflect the system used in Dragonblage — pushing the ornamental elements into a familiar functional/non-functional space.

Merritt lives and works on Plum Island, Mass. He completed his MFA in painting at Rhode Island School of Design in 2015 and his BFA at California Institute of the Arts in 2012.

Steel House Projects, co-directed by Alexis Iammarino and Maeve O’Regan, is a multidisciplinary art space providing access to contemporary artists, thinkers and technologists through exhibitions, workshops, talks events and more. Gallery hours are weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment via gallery@rocklandsteelhouse.com.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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