(A chair designed and built by Eugene furniture artist James Nason is among the many handmade furniture pieces on display at the Maude Kerns Art Center during its 17th biennial furniture show)

By Randi Bjornstad

For anyone who loves fine furniture, there’s a lot to ooh and ahh over at the Maude Kerns Art Center, where its 17th biennial Oregon Made for Interiors exhibit of beautifully handcrafted, one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture — along with complementary paintings by Mavelle Montsalve-Featherstone — will be on display through June 21.

This finely crafted, drawered box is by Joseph Lee

It’s a juried show, and the judges this year include artists Tim Boyden, Carol Jackson, and Sarah Peterman, all furniture designers and builders themselves. The three selected works by 29 Oregon furniture-makers, whose pieces range from chairs and tables to cabinets and chests, as well as quilt tapestries and light fixtures.

Sarah Ciampa, who recently became exhibits coordinator at Maude Kerns after her predecessor, Michael Fisher, became executive director, said she is “so impressed with the level of skill these artists have brought to this show.”

“People don’t always get to see such fine art furniture as what we have here,” Ciampa said. “Oregon is such a great scene for furniture-making, and it’s so nice to see so many beautiful pieces gathered here in one place.”

There’s much to see. The large gallery and the stage area both are filled with pieces, from tiny handcrafted curio boxes to large dining-size tables. The smaller gallery adjacent to the main hall also is pressed into service as exhibit space.

The show also presents a wide range of styles, materials, and furniture-making methods, ranging from an updated art-deco wood liquor cabinet to a trio of tree-like floor lamps with casual wood-slat bases topped by conical canvas shades.

Artist Matt Hallman created a large wood and glass “river table” for the show at Maude

Some of the artists have participated in previous Maude Kerns biennial furniture shows, while others are first-time exhibitors.

Veteran exhibitor James Nason of Eugene has several of his exquisite pieces in the show, including a breathtaking sculptural rocking chair in black oak and a bench whose top consists of smoothly sanded, parallel wooden pieces with wavelike contours.

Some of the larger pieces in the show are the work of Roseburg artist Matt Hallman, who is showing in the Maude Kerns biennial for the first time.

One of his creations is a “river table,” so-called because the top resembles a landscape with a river running through it. His, called The Pearl, is crafted from myrtlewood and glass.

Hallman constructs art furniture from locally sourced woods that have been felled by storms or met some other natural demise.

Another example of a reused piece in the show is an elegant foyer table of glass and metal by Mario Cro, in which the top came from the rear window of a 1971 Ford truck.

Portland artist Linda Zimmer, who teaches in the University of Oregon’s interior architecture program, also is represented in the exhibit with two of her digitally cut and painted plywood pieces in the form of a blanket chest and a linkage hinge chest.

Art quilts may not be furniture, but they blend perfectly with it, and Eugene artist Janet Hiller has four of her large art quilts, based on a Japanese decorative stitching form called sashiko, in the show.

The Creek by Mavelle Montsalve-Featherstone is part of the biennial furniture show at the Maude Kerns Art Center

The biennial also includes work by a featured painter whose art is chosen both for its own merit and to complement the furniture in the show.

This year’s featured artist is Mavell Montsalve-Featherstone. Her paintings have been shown in several local galleries, including the Karin Clarke Gallery, the now-closed Jacobs Gallery in the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, and previously at the Maude Kerns Art Center.

A public reception opens the show from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 24. The show is sponsored by artist Nancy Pobanz and attorney David Wade.




17th annual Oregon Made for Interiors Show

When: May 24 through June 21

Opening reception: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 24

Where: Maude Kerns Art Center, 1910 E. 15th Ave., Eugene (corner of 15th and Villard streets)

Regular gallery hours: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday during shows

Information: 541-345-1571 or mkartcenter.org