The Lavender Hinge Showroom Opens
Red Hole (Kid Mohair), 2013, kid mohair
All images furnished by The Lavender Hinge
Downtown, a new gallery will open its doors for the first time on Friday, April 11. Located in a relatively unused passageway that funnels tenants of the Belesario building from its lobby to Main Street, the Lavender Hinge Showroom is an outcrop of The Lavender Hinge, an art project and allegory created by artists Eric Magnuson and Lisa Z. Morgan.
New to Buffalo, Magnuson is a Detroit native who spent most of his career in LA and NY. A conceptual artist who has been creating and showing his work for many years, Magnuson considers himself "idea-based" and uses a variety of mediums to express these ideas. He moved to Buffalo last fall, accepting the position as Head of the Art Prep Department at the Albright Knox.
Lisa Z. Morgan, a UK native, fellow artist, and Magnuson's partner, commutes between Buffalo and her home in Providence, Rhode Island. An artist who most frequently works with textiles and wearable art, Morgan was co-creator of the couture lingerie line, Strumpet and Pink. The line’s stunning and ethereal pieces have been sought after by private collectors and are part of the permanent collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Morgan’s work has been featured in several books, but she is also the author of Design Behind Desire: The Sensuous Textures of Wanting, an art book that examines fashion, art, and erotica through the lens of desire's many facets.
Together, Morgan and Magnuson make up the Lavender Hinge, an overarching concept under which the duo’s passion for each other and art come together. The opening exhibition of The Lavender Hinge Showroom will provide Buffalo with a chance to experience some of the work they’ve created under that mantle. In the future, the gallery will feature other artists, as well.
Worsted Men's Hole (with cashmere and silver mink), 2013, wool, cashmere, silver mink, cotton
With its opening exhibition, a selection of The Lavender Hinge’s work dresses the walls of the modest, austere gallery space. Frames of all sizes are wrapped with exquisite and luxurious Holland & Sherry fabrics—fabrics so sensuous they nearly beg the viewer to touch them, even though we know we certainly must not. Each piece features impeccable and exquisitely executed tailoring techniques used in an atypical manner, ultimately evoking a sensory experience.
The entire installation is very erotic; in some pieces, button holes of varying sizes conjure vaginal imagery, while in another, a precise row of fastened buttons evokes the notion of demurity, all the while enticing the viewer to unbutton just a closure or two in order to gaze at what might be concealed. Some of the pieces, such as the worsted wool suit coat fitted with a mauve suede buttonhole running up its back, make social commentary about gender roles. In another, a quasi-religious statement could be assumed, as a horizontal buttonhole is used to signify a correlation to the story depicted in Caravaggio’s The Incredulity of Saint Thomas.
Lavender Hole (for Kiton), 2013, cashmere, leather, cotton
The Seduction of Saint Thomas (after Caravaggio)
Speaking with Magnuson and Morgan, it is easy to become enchanted with their story. It is rare to find a coupled pair of artists who work so seamlessly with one another—speaking with them at length is a little like having an immersive conversation with one very dynamic person. Their shared vision for what they are to one another and together, what they want to create, and how they want to facilitate that creative process is compelling, to say the least. You can read more about the Lavender Hinge here.
Meanwhile, Main Street has a great new gallery space, currently exhibiting exciting work from two artists new to town and intent on making Buffalo their home. If the experience I had during my extraordinary meeting with them is any indication at all, there will be more stories to tell about the Lavender Hinge and its showroom soon enough.
(The exhibition runs through July 11 and maintain Saturday hours from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Addiitonal viewings available by appointment.)
The Lavender Hinge Showroom
520 Main Street; Buffalo
Christa Glennie Seychew is the senior editor of Buffalo Spree.