Virtual Window — Jonathan Chapline

Press Release

Virtual Window — Jonathan Chapline

Installation photography by James Haefner

Library Street Collective is thrilled to present a unique online exhibition with New York-based artist Jonathan Chapline. Titled Virtual Window, the works in the exhibition feature metro Detroit’s historic W. Hawkins Ferry House, which was built in 1964 to highlight its namesake’s exemplary collection of modern art and unobstructed views of Lake St. Clair. Chapline employs historical and contemporary images of the home to create vantage points within the works that are an amalgamation of distinct snapshots in time, amplifying architectural details, iconic works of art, and the expansion of space.

The wealth of historic material provided to Chapline was an ample resource to create the works within Virtual Window. Many narratives are present in Ferry’s legacy of collecting significant works of art and early pieces of mid-century modern furniture, as well as in his patronage of architect William Kessler to design his expansive home. Within Chapline’s paintings, all these strata are visible at once, a digital age interpretation of the many eras of collecting that the home has lived through. The lake side of the house features floor-to-ceiling windows, and the artist has captured deep perspectives that begin inside and stretch to the trees and water beyond, while still managing to maintain focus on the interior and its anthology.

This freedom allowed the artist to think beyond the documentation of space, artwork and furniture that has lived there. Chapline has created versions of the furniture and sculptures in his faceted style, appropriating aesthetic decisions while making an effort to move away from perfect representation. Referring to Ferry’s original placement of Standing Woman by Alberto Giacometti, Chapline says “I thought of how the form of Giacometti's sculpture created or broke up the space in the main room. A figure that is light but has an overwhelming presence at the same time. Designing with computer programs I am able to create without the physical limitations of gravity, and I thought about how the figure could almost float in the room.”

W. Hawkins Ferry was born in 1913 in Detroit and studied art history and architecture under Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer at Harvard in the late 1930s. His grandfather, Dexter M. Ferry was one of the original founders of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) in 1885 and went on to donate the land where the current museum stands in its 1927 Beaux-Arts building. Ferry’s family were impressive collectors of 18th and 19th century art, but his training with Breuer, Gropius and others inspired him to pursue 20th century works in painting and sculpture. By the time of his death in 1988, he had donated significant works by Joan Miró, Richard Serra, Max Ernst, Franz Kline, Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Ellsworth Kelly, Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell, and others to the DIA. Hawkins had been so close to Barnett Newman that his wife Annalee specified in her will that Hawkins was to be given first choice of the works from their Estate.

Now owned by Library Street Collective partners JJ and Anthony Curis, the W. Hawkins Ferry House was restored to its original design in 2015 after decades of disrepair and modifications to its historic integrity. The couple has amassed their own impressive collection of contemporary art in present day, and hope that Ferry would have felt their patronage of the arts and commission of Chapline’s works was in line with his own legacy.

Install Images

Selected Work

null — Jonathan Chapline
Jonathan Chapline — Jonathan Chapline

Jonathan Chapline

Conversation Pit, 2020
Acrylic and Vinyl Paint on Panel
72h x 120w in

Jonathan Chapline  — Jonathan Chapline

Jonathan Chapline

Arched Windows (Diptych), 2020
Acrylic and Vinyl Paint on Panel
Each panel measures 90h x 25.5w in


null — Jonathan Chapline
null — Jonathan Chapline
Jonathan Chapline — Jonathan Chapline

Jonathan Chapline

Glass Cube (Blue Interior), 2020
Acrylic and Vinyl Paint on Panel
48h x 84w in

null — Jonathan Chapline

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