Furniture Goes to the Gallery with Omforme & CIRCA’s “Twisted Tryst”

by Jahna Peloquin | Photos: Omforme’s wood and patent-leather “Damia” chair; Jeff Leonard’s “CA34”, resin on panel, courtesy CIRCA gallery and Omforme Design

With the rise of such modernist design icons as Frank Lloyd Wright, Ralph Rapson, and Frank Gehry, the boundary between art and design became blurred. With Twisted Tryst, a collaboration exhibition between Minneapolis interior design studio Omforme Design and North Loop’s CIRCA gallery, the tradition of art and furniture design coming together lives on.  

Carter Averbeck’s artful transformations—which have ranged from walnut tables embedded with shards of glass to mannequins transformed into floor lamps—are at the center of the six-week show. For the exhibition, Averbeck took inspiration from various female archetypes denoting strength, including “a strong, bad-ass woman archetype, a dominatrix-type female, a fearless warrior/leader, and a skilled huntress, adept as any male in getting her prize,” he says. His “Artemis” chair, inspired by the Greek goddess of the hunt, features a vintage fur back, orange patent-leather arms, an orange paisley seat, and a vintage carved-wood frame, giving it the appearance of a throne in the wilderness, while the “Damia” chair—named for the Greek goddess of the fertile earth—features an asymmetrical back that is one part tufted patent leather, one part ornate carved wood.

Omforme’s distinctive furnishings will be paired with contemporary artwork by CIRCA’s artists, including Benjamin Cobb’s curving blown-glass sculptures, the textured, abstract paintings of Shawna Moore and Laura Stack, and Jeff Leonard’s color-drenched resin paintings. The works complement and contrast with Omforme’s shiny surfaces, asymmetrical silhouettes, and bold palette—making for an eclectic marriage of art and design.

Opening reception: 5–8 p.m. on Sat., Feb. 11. “Twisted Tryst: CIRCA + Omforme” runs Feb. 11-March 25 @ CIRCA gallery, 210 N. First St., Minneapolis, 612-332-2386, Omforme Design is open by appointment only @ 613 W. 24th St., Minneapolis, 1-855-633-6763,

Omforme’s “Artemis” chair

Benjamin Cobb’s “Banded Fall Pod,” blown glass

Shawna Moore’s “Blood Moon,” encaustic on panel

Laura Stack’s “Fluere #4,” ink on paper

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