Man, Rock, Drill is a pretty direct way to title a show of handmade marble pieces, but in the case of furniture designer Max Lamb's current show at Johnson Trading Gallery, its forthrightness is entirely appropriate. A collection created exclusively with Vermont marble, the idea behind the show was both spontaneous and simple—Lamb sent 300 pounds of tools from the United Kingdom to America, drove to a farm in Vermont and got to work.
The pieces ranged from clearly functional to simple explorations of form. Lamb's show statement along with a visual guide to the exhibition on the back. Enter a caption (optional)
Well-known for his exploration of process, the premise of Lamb's show seems more allegorical than technical with, "a man in a van with a drill looking for stone." After acquiring a core drill, Lamb explored what he could accomplish in marble with his own bare hands.
Produced on a farm just outside of New York in Danby, Vermont—home to the largest underground marble quarry in the world—Lamb worked endlessly, rain or shine, on the pieces for about a month. He woke up early with porridge and coffee and then headed outside each day to work through the night, hacking at marble.
Spread in a grid across the gallery, those in attendance had inevitable interactions with the pieces. Enter a caption (optional) Enter a caption (optional)
The results of this test of skill and determination are somewhat mysterious, beautiful, and only partially indicative of their inherent function. The timeline and story of the pieces bring to mind historical mysteries like Stonehenge where the original function of the formations may be lost, but the abstraction and the mystery of them enhance their beauty. Each piece sits in the gallery within a grid-like formation. Their materiality connects the collection yet each stands alone in its particular beauty. What stands out most from these works is the clear determination that went into creating the piece. "It is this commitment and drive, focus and passion that makes his work interesting," says Johnson Trading Gallery director Paul Johnson. "Of course the work is interesting in its own right, but it is his effort and ability to get the job done without complaining, just hard work, that makes me admire it more."
What makes the work interesting is simply the captivating narrative behind it; the story of a man, carving at rock with his trusty drill.
"Man, Rock, Drill" is on view at Johnson Trading Gallery, 72 Franklin Street in New York, through December 15.