|"For over three decades, Terence Main
has been challenging the borders between art and design.
Considered art before furniture, his objects are
sculptures in a form that accommodates the human body, but
distinctly declare form before function. A graduate of the
Cranbrook Academy of Art Masters program, Main's work was
a staple at Rick Kaufmann's avant-garde Art et Industrie
Gallery in New York. Kaufmann, was soon giving Main solo
exhibitions, as well as including his work in group
exhibitions with the likes of Ron Arad, Larry Bell,
Forrest Myers, Howard Meister and Michele Oka Doner. Main
has been featured in exhibitions at museums and galleries
around the world. He has received commissions for hotels,
corporate offices and private residences, and his
sculptures are in the permanent collections of the
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art,
Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum, Denver Art Museum, Museum
of Fine Arts, Houston, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts,
Indianapolis Museum of Art and Racine Art Museum.
More 'objects that hold the human body' than utilitarian chairs, Main's sculptures begin in sketches. Over a period of a month to a half a year, the sketches become models for off-site molding and finally casting and finishing. Though often mistaken for craft, Main's guiding principle lies more with the initial shape and design of his sculptures, rather than the process of construction."
[Susan Grant Lewin Associates- Press release]
Filled with dark and light, his structures and forms have always been anthropomorphic, bold, and specific. His iconography, intensely personal yet profoundly universal has grown to encompass that strength of form, his work ultimately fulfilling Louis Sullivan's ideal of ornament and structure, as he wrote for The Engineering Magazine in 1812:
"The ornament, as a matter of fact, is applied in the sense of being cut in or on, or otherwise done: yet it should appear, when completed, as though by the out working of some beneficent agency it had come forth from the very substance of material and was there by the same right that a flower appears amid the leaves of its parent plant. Here by this method we make a species of contact, and the spirit that animates the mass is free to flow into the ornament - they are no longer two things but one thing."
I've seen Terence Main work in paper, clay, wood, glass, steel, stone and bronze.To all these materials he brings not only Sullivan's ideal mating of ornament and structure flowing one into another, but also strikes that balance between nature and abstraction that imbues his objects with a primordial urgency seemingly harnessed to celestial math.
[Rick Kaufmann - Director of former Art et Industrie Gallery, Forward from Terence Main catalogue published by Art et Industrie]
| When is a
chair not a chair? The obvious answer would seem to
be: "When you can't sit in it." But this doesn't quite
fit when it comes to Terence Main's work. While
objects made of solid bronze and composed of forms
that resemble (variously) flattened rib cages,
vertebrae, and the skeletons of leaves or insects
don't exactly invite you to curl up and read a book,
they can be sat in or on without serious discomfort.
That they are also extremely beautiful seems a
byproduct of Main's passionate obsession with the
relation between abstract form, and the form of the
Like most interesting artists today Main operates on a kind of borderline of his own choosing. On one side lie ideas of function, craft and the decorative, on the other the oppressive precepts of High Art. In Main's world no visas are required to pass from one to the other, so he creates a handsome bench that looks like a cross between a marimba and an Egyptian "couch of death", or he makes magnificent bronze doors (doors for a penthouse apartment in Manhattan) covered with angular, arboreal designs.
[John Ash - writer, art critic- from the Terence Main catalogue published by Art et Industrie]
really intellectualizes what he's doing - it's not just
decorative. [Jane] Adlin says the [Metropolitan] museum
shows Main's bronze chair more often than even those of
Modernist legend Mies van der Rohe: Mies says one thing;
it's extremely important, but it's one thing. Main's
work recalls organic design in the vein of earlier work
in wood by Charles and Ray Eames and Alvar Aalto.
[Jane Adlin - Former Associate Curator Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art, excerpts from an article in Departures Magazine by Jackie Cooperman]