The Vision Within The Man

Looking back to shape the future

Grounded in direct experience, comprising a lifestyle all its own and an aesthetic embrace of the without from the within: this is the anthem of modern design in upscale furniture making the rounds of celebrity mansions and high-profile residences.  Not mere aspirations towards personal statements or expression, these works are simultaneously solemn and spontaneous, planned by man and also crafted by nature.  In this way the utilitarian ethos is revealed in spite of the strictest commandments against schools of thought and their theories.  In this way does the subtlety of materials appear as frivolities to untutored eyes and sensibilities, such subtlety as imbues the noblest elegance – which is to say, the most pregnant of silences – to that honestly crafted, without thought of accolade or recompense.

And in this way, then, a reaction, or, even, a comeback, where traditional skills had been shunned and modernity is identified with the machine; a comeback of the ancient, almost-stoic ethic identifying being with doing, where there is no theory of design and no “movement” in the arts, as such terms belong to metacognition and not the mighty and mysterious context that is the great human unconscious.  And in this way does truly spontaneous furniture, like calligraphy, arise of necessity out of its own materials and can never simply be assembled of them.  And so it is this art, impossible to teach but which must be learned.

“Art,” an ironic word demonstrating the sheer artifice involved in using nature to interpret nature.  But even as the most skillful of acting can demonstrate truths unattainable otherwise, so too might artists and artisans similarly reveal nature herself within the forms of man, never mind the sophist’s objections.  In any event, civilization must be furnished.  Yet the return to tradition in contemporary design has found itself at home in the most modern of settings, sleek where nature had been thick, minimal where nature had expanded.  Ergo, a modern furniture maker such as Barlas Baylar, balancing contemporary styles with the ancient handicrafts of village masters simply plying their trade.

A job well-done was the trade of these ancients, in a world far removed from art criticism and revolving fashions.  It was one of craftsmanship and visions forever free from the ossification of theory.  Intimately understanding themselves a part of the natural cycle, no distinction was made between nature’s discards and nature herself.  In our evermore crowded times where digital communications make veritable housemates of neighbors and invite the government into our very beds, so-called folk art is a reminder and a triumph of the human spirit.  Or as George Nakashima wrote, “it might even be a question of regaining one's own soul when desire and megalomania are rampant – the beauty of simple things.”