A major new exhibit shines light on RMIT alumnus Clement Meadmore - one of Australia's most gifted modernist designers.
Mr Meadmore is renowned for his colossal outdoor art sculptures but it is his lesser-known furniture, lighting and interiors that feature heavily in the National Gallery of Victoria's exhibition Mid-Century Modern.
Mr Meadmore graduated from RMIT's industrial design degree in 1949 and had a fruitful career as a furniture designer - where he was strongly influenced by the 1950s manufacturing boom.
Factories in industrial working-class neighbourhoods such as Collingwood and Fitzroy produced robust furniture and encouraged creativity that directly influenced his designs.
Mr Meadmore was inspired by the simplicity of the mid-century industrial boom and produced innovative andY creative furniture pieces not just for aesthetic but functional purposes using basic materials such as plywood, string, wire and chrome.
His welded steel corded chair on display at the Mid-Century Modern exhibition looks as if it could have been created yesterday.
The simple chair is among many of Mr Meadmore's distinctive pieces from the 1950s that were produced for the domestic market and make use of cheap and durable material.
The chair - among other designs unique to the 1950s and 60s - is still popular today among contemporary furniture designers, demonstrating the lasting legacy of his multi-purpose design principles.
Mr Meadmore broke away from the design world in Australia, following various exhibitions in Melbourne and Sydney, and embarked on creating welded steel sculptures in the late 1950s.
His career took a turn when he moved to New York in 1963, where he began a second but equally flourishing and successful career as an outdoor metal sculptor.
While at first glance, his sculptures show no tangible manifestations of his former career as an industrial furniture designer, the processes Mr Meadmore employed to create his outdoor pieces - such as building blocks of resin for contouring - were informed by the skills he gained during his industrial design degree at RMIT.
His sculpted work includes the conceptual and abstract cubed metal Dervish monument at Southbank, which was commissioned in 1973 and has become an iconic part of CBD Melbourne.
Mr Meadmore's work was also recently shown as part of the Revelations: Sculpture from the RMIT Art Collection exhibition at RMIT Gallery.
Today, his furniture and art is slowly gaining popularity and recognition in Australia's art and history, but his work is still less well-known than that of many others in his generation.
Mr Meadmore passed away in Manhattan in 2005, aged 76.
Mid-Century Modern is at the NGV until Sunday, 19 October.
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