Painterly Geometic

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Images courtesy of Wolf-Gordon

Overlay/Underlay, Wolf-Gordon’s recently debuted collection of wallcoverings by renowned artist and designer Kevin Walz, proves that two-dimensionality is hardly flat.

New York-based Walz, who came to design organically after studying fine arts at Pratt Institute and the New York Studio School, gathered inspiration and employed a design process for the patterns from across disciplines, intersecting art, industry, and technology. For this collection, he began with the basics: sketching patterns with pencil on paper. Then, those developed into translations that he hand painted on linen, letting the nature of those materials emerge as the paint would bleed through and dry. Finally, the patterns on that linen canvas were scanned, first from the front and then from the back, their textures overlapping in the final incarnation. This encouraged a simultaneous “dual vision” of the front (the “overlay”) and the back (the “underlay”).

“My collection has a human touch of line, or brush stroke, of textures, of translucent inks,” Walz says. “The longer you look at these geometrical designs, the more you see variation and individual character.” Even though Overlay/Underlay relies on mass manufacturing to meet its high standards for performance in the wear-and-tear of daily use, the designs still retain an obvious air of craft that is reminiscent of traditional woodblock prints or made-by-hand silkscreens.

The collection delighted visitors to the Wolf-Gordon Chicago showroom at this year’s NeoCon and features five patterns that embody polished-yet-playful movement: Marz (horizontal rows marked by spheres, arcs, and intersections), Jax (a modern interpretation of a fleur-de-lis) Dimon (a positive-negative diamond complement to Jax), Nite, (a vertical array of a multitude of brush strokes), and Honeykom (alternating colors mimicking perforated metal). Yoke, a performance vinyl upholstery design featuring a repeating, overlapping “v” pattern that retains a handmade feel thanks to pencil lines, joins the line this fall.

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