There’s really no such thing as an empty chair.
That’s the conclusion you come to, looking at the evocative pictures Daphne and Art Carlyle have taken over the last 15 to 20 years of chairs outside cafés, in shopping malls, nailed to forest trees, in marble porticos, in just about every conceivable setting or configuration.
Funny thing is, there’s not a single person in any of the pictures hanging at Rainforest Arts, where they are featured in September and October. Rather, the chairs inviteyouto take a seat. But they’re photos, so you can’t step inside the scenes and sit yourself down, the only way to get there is through the portals of imagination.
Viewers are invited to turn themselves around and look out of the photos, instead of in. “I hope that they would look at the chairs, and imagine themselves being in that chair, in that location,” Daphne said. You can even bring a companion along and place them on the other side of the table. “Somebody special, or perhaps just a friend.”
“Any chair has an appeal to it, and there’s a temptation or an invitation to sit,” Art said. “So, a quaint table and chairs at a coffee shop is an invitation to sit and chat or take a moment, take a special moment.”
Part of that special moment is the chairs themselves, how our bodies conform to their shapes, how their curves and colours appeal to the eye. There’s an elegance and functionality to chairs that make them works of art in their own right, and capturing that essence is one of the objectives of Please, Take a Seat.
“I think it’s important to acknowledge the designers and the craftsmen, who make the chairs,” Art said. “Our role is to use our creative skills and technical skills to interpret that. I don’t think anyone who looks at the show is going to quite be able to view chairs the same again.”
So, consider yourself invited to Please, Take a Seat, during their exhibit at Rainforest Arts. The gallery is at 9781 Willow Street in Chemainus. It’s open from 11 am to 4 pm daily. On Sept. 14 Daphne and Art will be at the gallery all day for their opening (refreshments will be available). For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 250-0246-4861.