Woodworker Evan Court

These end tables by Evan Court will be offered via silent auction at the Currier Museum of Art on September 22. Photo by Bill Truslow

Woodworker Evan Court has been exploring a contemporary point of view by contrasting painted flat surfaces with the warm textures of wood — “It speaks to me in a conceptual way,” he says.

Court’s end tables, shown here, are typical of his latest work, a refreshing look at traditional woodworking with unexpected curves and flat paint that highlight the natural beauty of the wood’s grain. He had been developing matched pairs, but here he wanted to see how slight differences in each table work to create visual tension. Differences are slight, and at first appear to be an illusion, but then a delight with a more interesting composition.

Why wood? Court says, “After doing house carpentry, I really enjoyed the need to be fussy with the finish work.” He trained at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, the oldest trade school in the country. After finishing the program, he went on to a studio in Boston and also studied fine art to hone his design sense.

Although his initial training was creating traditional furniture, he says, “I wouldn’t be able to create contemporary forms without first learning the foundation built by historic furniture makers. It is a place to start.” Shaker and Federal forms are reference points as he works in his Rollinsford Upper Mill studio producing curvilinear tables and chairs with a keen eye for form, function and beauty.

At 26, Court has been invited, as a guest, to join the New Hampshire Furniture Masters annual exhibit/auction that will be held September 22 at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester. It will showcase a select group of masters and work from the Prison Outreach Program. Proceeds from the event help support the organization’s work with prisoners and the Alden Artisan Advancement Scholarship to encourage young talent.

The Masters’ Pieces showcase at the Currier also includes dance performance, music, artisanal food, a signature cocktail and craft beer. Tickets, $90. The body of work to be offered in a silent auction is first on view at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester through September 20.

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