Big Tables (Really, Really Big Tables)
Robert Therrien’s outsized tables, two of which are on view in his current exhibition at the Albright-Knox, were originally inspired by a series of black-and-white Polaroid photographs the artist took of the underside of his kitchen table. Fascinated by the table’s craftsmanship, and by the dynamic lines this vantage point created, he went on to enlarge the original objects, allowing all of us the opportunity to appreciate what we might not otherwise see.
This story offers one explanation for the scale of Therrien’s works, but what about his imagery in general? Tables, snowmen, hats, bows, pitchers, stacks of plates, and oilcans—what makes these objects art? Albright-Knox Director Janne Sirén offers an opinion in his foreword to the exhibition catalogue: “Therrien’s inclusion of familiar items from daily life offers viewers an immediate handhold, allowing each one of us to see something unique, perhaps even something personal. His explorations of scale, symmetry, and form further capture our attention, causing us to ask fundamental questions about our daily lives, our memories, and what such objects might represent to the artist, and to others. In this way, his work becomes a window on the world outside our everyday experiences and a pathway to understanding.”
Robert Therrien is on view at the Albright-Knox through October 27.
IMAGES: Details of Robert Therrien’s No title (table leg), 2010, and No title (folding table and chairs, beige), 2006. © 2013 Robert Therrien / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photographs by Pam Hatley, AKAG Staff.

Big Tables (Really, Really Big Tables)

Robert Therrien’s outsized tables, two of which are on view in his current exhibition at the Albright-Knox, were originally inspired by a series of black-and-white Polaroid photographs the artist took of the underside of his kitchen table. Fascinated by the table’s craftsmanship, and by the dynamic lines this vantage point created, he went on to enlarge the original objects, allowing all of us the opportunity to appreciate what we might not otherwise see.

This story offers one explanation for the scale of Therrien’s works, but what about his imagery in general? Tables, snowmen, hats, bows, pitchers, stacks of plates, and oilcans—what makes these objects art? Albright-Knox Director Janne Sirén offers an opinion in his foreword to the exhibition catalogue: “Therrien’s inclusion of familiar items from daily life offers viewers an immediate handhold, allowing each one of us to see something unique, perhaps even something personal. His explorations of scale, symmetry, and form further capture our attention, causing us to ask fundamental questions about our daily lives, our memories, and what such objects might represent to the artist, and to others. In this way, his work becomes a window on the world outside our everyday experiences and a pathway to understanding.”

Robert Therrien is on view at the Albright-Knox through October 27.

IMAGES: Details of Robert Therrien’s No title (table leg), 2010, and No title (folding table and chairs, beige), 2006. © 2013 Robert Therrien / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photographs by Pam Hatley, AKAG Staff.

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