“bold boho,” Circa and Omforme’s Third Exhibition, Focuses on Restyling by Pairing Abstract Art with Artisan Furnishings

For three years, Carter Averbeck—artist, media darling, and owner of the fabulous furnishings shop Omforme Design—and Circa Gallery in Minneapolis have been teaming up to pair local abstract art with Averbeck’s original décor. This year’s show, which opens on Saturday, January 20 (with a free reception from 3-6 p.m.) is titled “bold boho,” in honor of Averbeck’s take on the new bohemian trend that’s influencing fashion and home design. The theme also celebrates Averbeck’s creative repurposing or “restyling” of furniture.

The boho trend, according to Circa, is also revealed “in the bold palettes and layered textures” of the work by such local artists as Laura Stack and Ellen Richman. Working in oil, metal, wood, glass and encaustic, the Circa artists create bold abstractions that will richly complement Averbeck’s wood tabletops—drenched with color—and yarn-bombed, metal-gridded chairs. We talked with Averbeck about this third collaboration and why, as he says, “The future of furniture is restyling.”

Ellen Richman’s 5, 30″ x 30″ oil on canvas

How did your collaboration with Circa come about? 

We started our collaboration in 2016 when Circa’s artistic director, Teresa Engeltjes, came into my shop to talk about collaboration with local furniture artisans. She had been following my social media and liked how I was turning furniture into art. Our first collaborative exhibition was in 2016 and garnered great success. Gallery guests started to see how artful furnishings can be paired with art to create unique atmospheres.

How do you and Circa decide on a theme or approach? What influenced it this time?

The theme of the show is usually organic, based on what we each currently have available. Circa has a broad range of art to work with and my furnishings always find a counterpart in the art. My influence this time is derived from the bohemian culture of restyling furnishings rather than throwing items out. The creativity that comes from the ingenuity required to rethink form and function isn’t always readily apparent in current society. Americans have become the champions of “disposable society,” and that’s not a good thing. My transformations of furnishings showcase the creative and often hidden beauty that can come about by thinking differently on how we move toward an ecofriendly society. At some point, we will not be able to have good furniture made if we exhaust all the natural materials to make it. The future of furniture is restyling.

Omforme’s Chair Electric, vintage Bertoia chair, oil paint, wool/acrylic fiber

How do the art and your furnishings complement each other? 

The idea that furniture can be art is not at the forefront of most people’s minds. I try to showcase how these pieces can be transformed into artful items that can still function for everyday use. Since so much detail is put into each piece to offer an artistic interpretation in a modern format, it is a natural fit for what Circa Gallery has been known for with modern and contemporary art.

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