While some students saw last summer as a break from work, Jason Dunne saw an opportunity. The junior art studio major embarked on a project – to create 30 chairs in 30 consecutive days.
Dunne challenged himself with certain guidelines for the project, such as only using recycled or found material and not using any parts that were previously on a chair. The final display, which will be presented at the Basement Gallery (located in the basement of the art building) from Nov. 10 to 15, is a collection of 30 unique chairs.
“I wasn’t interested in repeating myself,” Dunne said. “I was trying to be innovative every day.”
Dunne drew inspiration for the project from designer Martino Gamper, who used discarded chairs to make 100 functional chairs in 100 days. Most of Dunne’s chairs are nonfunctional.
“All but maybe two or three of these are functional chairs,” Dunne said. “They function as artwork.”
While Dunne wasn’t short of ideas for his chairs, the gathering of materials – from finding free online listings to foraging through dumpsters – proved to be a challenge.
As much as the guidelines directed the project, Dunne also sees the 30 chairs as “a comment on mass production of products.”
“[I’m] just churning out these products day-in and day-out and mocking the factory process because every chair is so different,” Dunne said.
The exhibit will be Dunne’s collegiate debut. While he is excited about presenting his work, the choice to display the 30 chairs was nearly out of his hands.
“I guess it was almost out of my control,” he said. “People were so encouraging of me to show it because they didn’t want me to go through this process and not have any result of it for the public to see.”
The graduate advisors who taught Introduction to Sculpture and oversaw Dunne’s project over the summer were encouraged by his efforts and commitment.
“It is exciting to meet students like [Dunne] who are motivated and self-driven,” MFA graduate Mary Alison Lucas said in an e-mail interview. “Not only did he work hard at meeting his daily deadlines under [the] intense summer heat, he was also an absorbent sponge.”
“It is always exciting to work with students who want to push themselves beyond the requirements of their major,” said Julia Elsas, second year MFA candidate in the studio art department.
The Basement Gallery will host a reception with music and refreshments for “30 Chairs 30 Days” on Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. Laura Nevins, one of the directors of the student-run art gallery, said that they are excited to host another show.
“This show will only be our third show this year, but our first two have been fantastic,” she said. “I’m hoping a lot of people will come and see [Dunne]’s show. It is going to be some terrific work, and a lot of fun!”
Dunne plans to give away his chairs upon individual requests after the exhibit.
CHRIS RUE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org