Hot Forms Hot Colors: Vivian Beer

Finding power in sensual steel objects

“Current” designed 2004. Steel and automotive paint 28-inches long 33-inches wide 35-inches high.

Photo by Susan Laughlin

Are they sculpture or functional objects? Artist Vivian Beer says, "I dance somewhere in between those designations." Beer, who has a studio in Manchester, "re-mixes" the familiar - industrial materials - with inspiration from fashion, architecture and the mid-century furniture of Eero Saarinen. Out come twisting metal forms with sensuous curves that invite the touch. Her chairs shown here have anthropomorphic bulges in all the right places.

The simple forms may look like they were magically extruded or cut and shaped like origami, but compound curves are difficult to execute in steel. Working with computer-aided design programs helps plot the curves, while large jigs help with the scale. One of her latest public works is a "30-foot doodle" created in steel for the city of Cambridge, Mass.

Taking industry to craft, Beer's studio has many of the same tools an auto body shop would have to shape a fender. She uses auto body paint to give her work bright solid colors and relative permanence, and shares studio space with an antique auto restorer.

Her gallery and exhibition list is long and active. Most recently she exhibited in the 40 under 40: Craft Futures show at the Renwick Gallery in Washington. The Smithsonian purchased her piece for their permanent collection, making a major statement about her work.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. 2015 It List
    Our 2015 It List is the who’s who of New Hampshire. Meet 14 influential Granite Staters who...
  2. Miracle on Beech Street
    At the Manchester Police Athletic League, officers change the lives of local youth for the better.
  3. 28 Ways to Have Fun This Winter
    This year, why not resolve to make the best of the snow and ice? Here are 28 things to do...
  4. Challenge Yourself with Snowshoe Racing
    Put on your snowshoes and run! If you enjoy regular races, you just might like the added...
  5. Holiday Shopping in Concord
    Concord’s Main Street is back and beautiful. The recent downtown renovation has made for a...
  6. Alexander Heffner Host of “The Open Mind”
    "The Open Mind,” which turns 60 this year, got a new lease on life when Alexander Heffner,...
  7. Schoodacs Coffee & Tea
    Schoodacs Coffee & Tea in Warner, New Hampshire, offers a sense of community along with great...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags