Light-Headed

Y ou can feel dizzy because you stood up too quickly or because you forgot to eat breakfast. You can also feel dizzy because you’re surrounded by too many pretty things.

Even more than usual, that’s the present danger at Fairhaven Furniture’s River Street Gallery, where unique couches, tables and chairs get accents courtesy of Luminous Flux, a not-yet-three-weeks-old exhibit featuring a large number of mixed media and paper works by Liz Pagano and ceramic sculpture by Hayne Bayless.

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2015 Twilight Concert Series at the New Haven Museum's Pardee-Morris House

There’s also a third component in play here, making the exhibition more of a Venn diagram than a two-column list. The overlap is filled by Sideways & Askew, an extracurricular collaboration between Pagano and Bayless that produces a collection of funky high-design lamps. “Sideways” comes from Sideways Studio, Bayless’s independent sculpture endeavor, so named because he used to have to shimmy sideways around his studio for lack of space. Adding “Askew” was Pagano’s idea, a word that Bayless says describes “not only the work but also the approach and the personalities,” getting a laugh from his collaborator.

Glowing cool or warm depending on the bulb and the tone of the shade paper, each lamp (aside from the hanging ones) has a unique base made of concrete, clay, wood or stone, sometimes with four distinct feet. Charcoal-colored metal wires, sleek but solid, stretch up from those bases to form the molds for unusual three-dimensional shapes—non-uniform boxes, twisting five-sided pyramids and even a cloud. Fitted tightly over those wires are various paper forms with abstractions drawn, painted or printed on, sometimes using encaustic, with methods often combined. Occasionally, different sorts of paper have been fused together, adding yet another dimension to the effect of the light as it radiates outward.

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The Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies

It’s tempting to assume, given the nature of their individual work, that Bayless determines the lamp bases and Pagano does as much for the shades. But that’d be too forward and straight for Sideways & Askew. The reality is that the pair usually works together to plan out a design. And as far as execution goes, Pagano says, “sometimes you need more than two hands.”

Luminous Flux
featuring independent and collaborative work by Liz Pagano and Hayne Bayless
72 Blatchley Ave, New Haven (map)
Mon, Wed-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12-5pm
(203) 776-3099
Sideways & Askew | River Street Gallery

Written and photographed by Dan Mims. Photo #2 depicts Liz Pagano; photo #3b depicts Hayne Bayless.

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Dan has worked for a couple of major media companies, but he likes Daily Nutmeg best. As DN’s editor, he writes, photographs, edits and otherwise shepherds ideas into fully realized feature stories, helped in no small part by a small team of dedicated contributors.

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