By Regina Connell.
Simply put, David Wiseman makes utterly unforgettable work that straddles the line between art, craft, and design. He’s one of the few true modern artisans out there, someone who combines ancient skills, techniques, and sensibilities with a modern hand.
His work in lighting and sculpture is Lush, lyrical, romantic and intricately detailed but utterly modern and in its own way austere, rooted in nature but at home in urban contexts as well, creating a beautiful tension.
What first drew me to him were his branch chandeliers, delicate yet muscular metal branches at the end of which clung exquisite and fragile-seeming flowers of light. Over the years, I also fell in love with his charming owls (and believe me I am not typically charmed by owls.) How all of this does not venture into cloying territory is a testament to Wiseman’s eye, and his love of line and drawing.
It’s his ceiling sculptures or “canopies” that are so extraordinary and unusual: a welcome throwback to friezes found more often in Europe, and far too infrequently in the US.
Wiseman also does modern, too: his crystal “glacier” lighting and faceted vases show a more classically modernist sensibility while marrying it with his signature organic sensibility. Gloriously compelling as well are his metal lattice pieces worked into tables, stunning screens (there aren’t enough beautiful screens out there), vessels, and even cake stands.
Born in LA and educated at the Rhode Island School of Design, David (who now lives and works in LA) works in a wide variety of media, including porcelain, metals, and glass. Working hands on, he lets materials inform his design as much as drawings.
Nature, of course is his inspiration. In his artist statement, he writes, “As early as I can remember, I have been interested in drawing patterns – geometries that repeat to create structures, tiles and borders, as well as abstracting trees and flowers to create flourishes and symbols.”
Unsurprisingly, his work is both widely collected and commissioned. His works are held in the collections of the Corning Museum of Glass (Corning, NY) and the Museum of Art Rhode Island School Of Design (Providence, RI). His work made its institutional début in Design Life Now, the 2006 Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
His work can be found in private homes, institutions around the world, and Christian Dior stores in Shanghai, Tokyo and New York.
He is represented by R & Company.
First appeared on DxV.
All images by Joe Kramm via R & Company.