functional art

     and design

SOFA Chicago

Throughout the ages people have used objects of function that served a purpose: tools, furniture, tableware, etc. Regardless of what the implement was—it had to “work”. However, every era and culture also put an emphasis on the object’s “look”. In the marriage of art and design, form, function and art play together, one enhancing the other.

Art and architecture define the use of form and function (a principal associated with the 20th century Modernist architecture). Where design (function) depends largely on the constraints of the purpose, the form (art) allows the freedom and the flow. An artwork’s shape can be the flat, closed area created through line, texture and color. The form can refer to its three-dimensional composition. The harmony between these fields allows a piece to communicate in a more emotional and sensual way.   

Using natural materials like Indian silks, leaves, gold powders, spices etc., together with resins wood and metal, allowed Ilana Lilienthal to relate to the functionality side of art. Raindrop Chandelier is made of fiberglass elements (8 feet in diameter), chicken wire and zip ties, blended with gold wires and Swarovski crystals—industrial materials on one hand, elegant elements on the other. However, while the initial idea for this show was to create, indeed, “useable art”—a sculpture one can sit on, or light objects that can be art as well, there was also room for the function itself to uplift your spiritual energies (as with Lilienthal’s resin sculptures), deliver a message (such as Sad But True by Donovan Swick), or simply be pleasing to the eye (Noa by Adán López Alemán). 

Ilana Lilienthal

Adán Luis López Alemán

Donovan Swick