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Australia born 1957

  • to United States of America 1997

Lean 2004 Place made: Oakland, California, United States of America
Materials & Technique: woodwork, rosewood: coopered, joined, stained and polished

Dimensions: 180.0 h x 180.0 w x 30.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2005
Accession No: NGA 2005.1185

Donald Fortescue’s sensitive approach to his material exploits the natural qualities of rosewood: its lively textural character, satin-smooth surface and luminous colour. Leanengages viewers on each of these levels. Fortescue is fascinated with the historic craft of coopering and the precision required in the bending and shaping of hardwood to form sensuous planes and curves. Leanis hollow and rests against the wall, balanced on two small points where a segment appears to have been removed from the curved form. The space of this missing wedge interrupts the rhythm of its curved surfaces, as if delineated with calipers. In earlier works, Fortescue explored the sculptural qualities of furniture that, as he says, defy the ‘unwritten “law of rectilinearity” – perfect square and straight joints’, which accompanies conventional furniture. Lean is a development of these explorations, its form hinting at a wheel, linking the work back to some unknown functional purpose. MH

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra