Narrative drawers: Reconsidering familiar precedents of drawer furniture

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Title: Narrative drawers: Reconsidering familiar precedents of drawer furniture
Author: Adams, David
Abstract: This written thesis represents the culmination of several years of research, conceptual development, and studio work and accompanies an exhibition of furniture work, titled Narrative Drawers: Reconsidering Familiar Precedents of Drawer Furniture, which was held in the Bevier Gallery at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, from April 24 - May 10, 2006. A portion of this research directly results from my efforts under a 2005 Graduate Research Grant awarded by the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design, Hendersonville, North Carolina. Four original pieces of furniture were made for this exhibition: Tradition, Perforated Chest of Drawers, Private Exhibition, and Private Life. These works are variations on several types of drawer furniture: a Queen Anne style side table, a Modern style chest of drawers, a novel, revisionist clothesline, made compact for a home interior in a chest of drawers format, and a tabletop version of a Hadley style chest-over-drawer. The focus is on drawer furniture because of its rich symbolic potential. Considerable effort was made to develop these four furniture pieces into a cohesive body of work, and so the work is structured using themes. Four themes evolved in the making of this thesis: narrative, surface decoration, remarks on historical precedents, and the subversion of functional expectations. After establishing the basis for cohesiveness and relevance in studio furniture making, this writing examines the successes and weaknesses of the individual works, of their cohesiveness with the themes and each other, and of the exhibition in the gallery setting. Finally, the influence of this thesis upon my future endeavors in furniture making is envisioned. Though I greatly enjoy each individual piece, I suggest that this body of work and exhibition fail the test of cohesion. I trace the problem back to the thesis proposal. I now see clearly how more control over my subject would greatly improve my work's cohesiveness and clarity.
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Date: 2011-05

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