Steve Maturo: Rethinking the Room

Steve Maturo is a graduate of the University of Kansas with degrees in magazine journalism and interior design. He is the owner of Steve Maturo + Associates, Inc., a contract furniture manufacturer’s representative agency, and is co-owner of Museo with Darren Haun, which they began in 1992. For more information, www.museousa.com. (photo by Kyle Phillips)

It’s time to abandon the old cliché, ‘buy a painting to match the sofa.’ Why not turn that around: Buy a statement work of art and choose furniture to complement it? That’s the way to give contemporary art its due and achieve a room that makes a truly personal statement.

Several months ago, “KC Studio” took this idea to Steve Maturo, co-owner of Museo, 3021 Main St., Kansas City’s premier source for cutting-edge furniture by top international designers. “It makes perfect sense to me,” Maturo said.

“I have never purchased art because I needed something on the wall above the fireplace or on a blank wall in the bedroom,” he added. “I have always bought art because I am drawn to it. I am compelled to take a second look, to study it, to appreciate it, and ultimately to possess it.”

He agreed to curate a series of six art/furniture pairings.

Maturo began by choosing works by six leading Kansas City artists. He then selected tables, sofas, chairs and other items from Museo’s inventory to create a dynamic ensemble around each work of art.

An eye for contrast and repetition guided his selections, depending on the formal complexity, materials and palette of each artwork. Concepts — “Quiet Drama,” “Fire and Ice,” “Domination” — also played a role, endowing each grouping with a unifying theme.

Over the course of a week, “KC Studio” photographer Jim Barcus photographed the six tableaux, assembled inside the store with assistance from Kyle Phillips, Showroom Manager, Tim Roy, Operations Assistant, and “KC Studio” Art Director, Carrie Brophy.

The images reproduced in this month’s Artist Pages reveal how Maturo seeks a balance in the art/furniture relationship. His concept statements stress the importance of avoiding competition and distraction in favor of finding the “perfect foil” or complement.

“Neither art or furniture is subservient to the other,” he said. “Both are of equal importance within a space. . . the key is that the art and furniture should live harmoniously within the same space. As long as art and furniture speak to who their owner is, then I am convinced that they will work together, and your space will reflect who you truly are.”

Concept: Fire and Ice. When I first saw Susan White’s “Shadow Sink” it made me think of ice-covered branches. Paired here with Moooi’s Smoke Armchair, which is deliberately burned — preserving and finishing the furniture in an ancient Japanese process called Shou Sugi Ban — and sitting on a Moooi rug recalling a classic Flemish still-life painting, an unorthodox vignette is created uniting unexpected elements from nature. — Steve Maturo

Susan White, “Shadow Sink” (2018), honey locust thorns, unique steel links, 122 x 44 x 40 inches

Shown with: Moooi – Smoke armchair, $5,290; Moooi – Eden Queen rug, $2,795

Susan White

Collections: Hallmark Art Collection, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLC, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, H&R Block, Arrowhead Stadium

Recent Exhibitions
“Autonomous Bodies,” Studios Inc, 2018
“Ephemera,” Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, 2017
“Kindred Virtuosities,” The Daum Museum, 2015
Resident artist at Studios, Inc.

For Information and prices: Contact the artist, 816.686.5103; email sw@susan-white.com

Concept: Domination. Don Kottmann’s “Revolution” is a powerful work of art, and in this case, it is best to let it dominate the space. A soft but somewhat tailored sofa, Cassina’s 202 “8” sofa does not compete with the painting, while Cassina’s Mexique table keeps the setting a bit casual. — Steve Maturo

Don Kottmann, “Revolution” (2010), from the “Neo-ABX” series, acrylic on raw canvas,
71 x 73 inches

Shown with: Cassina – 202 “8” Sofa, $9,915; Cassina – Mexique table, $2,600

Don Kottmann

Collections: Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Alberta Art Foundation, Canada Council, NOVA Corporation, General Motors

Recent Exhibitions
“Everything Nothing Something,” Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, 2016-2017 “Symphony,” Masters Gallery, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 2015
“Primary Matters,” Todd Weiner Gallery, Kansas City, 2015

Professional Affiliation
Professor Emeritus, Alberta College of Art & Design, painting & drawing faculty (1974-2018)

For more information and prices: Contact Janet Rose, 913.940.8915; email drjsrose@gmail.com

Concept: Art, Uninterrupted. Some art is best shown featured alone, or with other works of art, devoid of distraction. Here, Mary Wessel’s “Untitled” from the “Worldscape Series” is featured with the iconic sculptural Egg chair from Fritz Hansen which can also stand alone, gallery style. — Steve Maturo

Mary Wessel, Untitled (2010), from the “Worldscapes Series,” photogram, 49 x 57 inches (framed)

Shown with: Fritz Hansen – Egg lounge chair, $8579; Cassina 194 – “9” table, $1,185

Mary Wessel

Collections: American Century Mutual Funds, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Sprint Corporation

Recent Exhibitions
“Kansas City Flatfile”, H&R Block Artspace, 2018
“Phenomena: The Material Image,” The Epsten Gallery, 2014 -15
“Abstract Kansas City,” Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, 2012

Professional Affiliation
Adjunct Professor of Photography, Johnson County Community College

For more information and prices: Contact the artist, 816.223.0184; email wessel.mary@gmail.com

Concept: Quiet Drama. The horizontal lines and the white-veined black marble top of Corbusier’s classic LC6 dining table anchor and complement the almost monochromatic colors of James Brinsfield’s “Sail On,” as well as the horizontal aspects of this vertical work. The Fritz Hansen Drop chair adds a soft touch to the environment without distracting from the intensity of the artwork. — Steve Maturo

James Brinsfield, “Sail On” (2017), oil, enamel, pencil on canvas, 76 x 62 inches

Shown with: Fritz Hansen – Drop chair, $459; Cassina – LC6 Table, $6,065; Kartell – Shibuya vase, $185

James Brinsfield

Collections: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Daum Museum of Contemporary Art

Recent Exhibitions
“Unexpected Encounters,” Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 2018
“Anxious Abstraction,” Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, 2018
“James Brinsfield: A 20 Year Retrospective,” Joseph Nease Gallery, 2018

Professional Affiliation
Lecturer, Painting Department, the Kansas City Art Institute, 1998-2016

For more information and prices: Contact Joseph Nease Gallery, Duluth, Minnesota, www.josephneasegallery.com

Concept: Natural Materials. May Tveit’s “The Road” is honest, straightforward and natural. The Gisele lounge chair from Sossego Designs pays homage to natural materials and honest design by incorporating raw cotton cording and Brazilian hardwood in the design of this exquisite (and exquisitely comfortable) piece from Brazil. — Steve Maturo

May Tveit, “The Road” (2017), corrugate, 68 x 29.5 x 4 inches

Shown with: Sossego – Gisele lounge chair and ottoman, $3,410; Flos – Glo-Ball Basic 2, $795

May Tveit

Collections: Hallmark Art Collection, Barkley, Fishnet Security, National Center for Drug Free Sport, Capital Federal Hall

Recent Exhibitions
“Universal Boxes,” Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, 2017-18

Professional Affiliation
Associate Professor of Industrial Design, University of Kansas

For more information and prices: Contact the artist, maytveit@gmail.com

Concept: Color. B & B Italia’s Grand Papilio armchair in violet might distract from a less bold piece of art, but Rashawn Griffin’s “Untitled” work is a perfect foil to such bold color and lines. B & B Italia’s Husk table adds a nice bit of angularity to an otherwise soft-curve setting. — Steve Maturo

Rashawn Griffin, Untitled (2017), monotype with collage, puff balls, and google eyes, 20.75 x 26.5 inches (irregular)

Shown with: B&B Italia – Grande Papilio armchair, $4,431; B&B Italia – Husk table, $1,422

Rashawn Griffin

Collections: Hallmark Art Collection, Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Ulrich Museum of Art, Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Recent Exhibitions
Open Spaces, Kansas City, 2018
“Minimal Baroque: Post-Minimalism and Contemporary Art,” Rønnebæksholm, Næstved, Denmark, 2014
“Rashawn Griffin • a hole-in-the-wall country,” Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, 2012

Professional Affiliation
Inaugural artist-in-residence and exhibiting artist, Crossroads Hotel, Fall 2018

For more information and prices: Contact Bedrock Art Editions, 2024 Broadway Street, Kansas City, Missouri. 816.492.9603:, www.bedrockarteditions.com

–photos by Jim Barcus

Alice Thorson

Alice Thorson is the editor of KC Studio. She has written about the visual arts for numerous publications locally and nationally.

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