It seems right that Fernando Mastrangelo’s newest sculptural furniture series is called Escape, as each piece has the dimensions of three-dimensional landscape paintings of fast-fading sunsets, or seeing to the Vermilion Dunes and Escalante Staircase, unique rock formations in Southern Utah.
Striations meld and fold into themselves, one color merges with another, yet maintains its own subtle identity. Silica, with its lava-like texture, often composes the foreground, and hand-dyed sands are stratified as they change in tone, suggesting layers of earth and distant mountain ranges. Powdered glass infers clear skies and bodies of water.
Fernando Mastrangelo’s language speaks an intuitive, experimental, yet experiential phrasing of unusual material. The results are full of memorable possibilities, all of which allow the viewer to disengage from reality for a short time, and ponder the forms, functions, and materials that comprise Mastraneglo’s furnishings.
This month, Mastrangelo debuted the new Escape series at two galleries: Maison Gerard in New York City and Rossana Orlandi’s gallery in Milan, Spazio Rossana Orlandi.
Mastrangelo has always used atypical materials. In the past, he used salt, coffee, sand, glass, BB pellets, and cement to cast sculptural objects that combine fine art with sculptural furnishing principles. His work is both rugged and refined, durable and delicate, formal and functional.
He has exhibited extensively throughout the U.S. and internationally, and his work has been discussed in both print and cultural contexts. In 2008, the Brooklyn Museum acquired one of his works, subsequently exhibiting it in their critically acclaimed 2012 Connecting Cultures show. In 2016, Mastrangelo established FM/s (Fernando Mastrangelo Studio), an experimental art and design studio that specializes in unique sculptural objects, conceptual design, and comprehensive interior environments. Additionally, Mastrangelo is the founder of MMATERIAL, a made-to-order line of minimalist sculptural objects that he conceptualizes and creates from his studio in Brooklyn, New York.
Mastrangelo has been a practicing sculptor for over a decade. In a recent interview, he said, “The idea of making furniture and using natural materials came from my sculpture practice. I’ve been casting unique materials for about eight years now, so it was a pretty fluid translation.
“My sculptures were always highly engineered objects, and all of the technical knowledge was carried over to the furniture. As with most creative endeavors, you learn from work to work what is possible,” he says. “Thinking about how I can push the processes of what we do at the studio becomes the main source of inspiration.”
He feels that designing furniture with natural, often granular materials, “is our gateway to educate architects, interior designers, and collectors as to what is possible with the materials we use, coupled with the infinite amount of possibilities they present.” Using such unique materials in simple designs, the creative possibilities do indeed seem endless.
Images courtesy of Jacob Gossett