General’s Parlor Sconces & Damask Wallpaper

Aaron Pexa is an American multi-media artist and architect whose work manifests curiosity and a sense of bewilderment through projection, optics, and appropriated antique objects to reframe and fracture environments.

In the General’s Parlor, the candlelight and corresponding shadows of Pexa’s The Lucent Parlor sconces help take our guests back in time, to an intimate dinner at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate. Each piece is distinctive in its form and the manner in which it redirects light. Together, they produce an enchanting, flickering light reminiscent of a time long forgotten, prior to modern-day electricity. Pexa utilized 19th century mass-production molds with manual glassmaking techniques in order to create each sconce. His focus on process, rather than product, is evident in the delicate, unfinished edges that create dancing shadows on our Parlor walls.

As an artist, Pexa says, “I invite bewilderedness into my creative practice. It has the power to lift us out of the norm through momentary destabilization. Bewilderment repositions the world on new terms.”

The damask wallpaper in the foyer of the General’s Parlor was also designed by Pexa. At George Washington’s dining table damask patterns would have been present on the upholstery of chairs, table linens, and on the dresses of guests. In this wallpaper, Pexa reinterprets a traditional damask print. The pattern itself is a nod to the antique nature of the glass molds used to create the sconces above the mantle. Layered within the damask pattern are images of a chandelier, drizzled with molten glass taken from video stills from Pexa’s The Lucent Parlor: Chapter I. The wallpaper plays off the translucency, light, and shadows cast by the sconces and sets the tone for the experience of the General’s Parlor private dining room.

The sconces and the wallpaper were created as part of a fully-immersive 2015 installation in which Pexa utilized sculpture, performance, and video to create The Lucent Parlor, which was completed during his fellowship at the Museum of American Glass and the Creative Glass Center of America at WheatonArts in Millville, NJ; and exhibited in his solo exhibition at Cade Tompkins Projects, Providence, RI and the SPRING/BREAK Art Show during New York’s Armory Arts Week in 2015.

Pexa received his MFA in Glass from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2014. Prior to studying glass at RISD, Pexa worked as an architect and urban designer in London and New Orleans. In the summer of 2014, he received a travel grant from the RISD to research glassmaking techniques along Finland’s Glass Trail, and most recently was awarded a Chinese government scholarship at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou to study Mandarin and promote cross-cultural exchange.

Title: Sconces, an excerpt from The Lucent Parlor
Date: 2015
Dimensions: 21” x 10” x 3” each
Medium: Sand-cast glass with aluminum and steel mold-cast glass
Title: Damask wallpaper, an excerpt from The Lucent Parlor
Date: 2015
Dimensions: 87.5 x 47 inch repeat
Medium: Ink jet print on vinyl
Location in Restaurant: General’s Parlor
Website: Cade Tompkins Projects
Social Media: Facebook, Instagram

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