Iva Kinnaird

Iva Kinnaird

I Would Love You If You Looked Like This:

5 November 2020 – 9 January 2021

‘lounging is encouraged, long pauses, deep breaths and moments of mental and physical respite’

Maximillian William is proud to present I Would Love You if You Looked Like This: the first UK presentation of the Texas based artist, Iva Kinnaird. Through a series of acrylic on canvas paintings, Kinnaird encourages us to look again at an oft unnoticed object of contemporary life: the sofa.

Whether it is a couch, settee or loveseat to you, the sofa is a universal symbol for leisure-time. Maligned for its associations with “couch potatoes,” over the last fifty years it has become the dominant article of furniture in our shared spaces. The artist is not drawn to the repetitive designs of today’s fashionable interiors but fuelled by nostalgia for the extravagant and eccentric designs of the 1950s – 1970s, finding source images by flipping through furniture catalogues. A more unexpected subject comes from the Regency era Brighton Royal Pavilion which King George IV filled with Chinoiserie bamboo furniture – European made objects inspired by Orientalist fantasies – which helped the King project the persona of a cultured, outward facing leader. Regardless of class, nationality or era we all have to sit and George IV is not alone in using his choice of seat as a sign of both wealth and cultural education: Kinnaird also scrutinises the anachronistic nature of mid-century pieces in contemporary culture, noting the cultural capital carried by Charles and Ray Eames designs within the creative circles of Houston and beyond.

From these tasteful mid-century pieces, to the squeaky black leather couch of the man cave, our choice of seating is rarely related to comfort alone but a semi-public projection of our identity. Though the sitter is absent, the width of Kinnaird’s canvas leaves plenty of room for speculation around their personas. The accommodating lengths of the sofas’ in I Would Love You if You Looked Like This: are either an invitation for everyone to take a seat or a pew for two in the era of social distancing. Either way, lounging is encouraged, long pauses, deep breaths and moments of mental and physical respite are front and centre in Kinnaird’s paintings. Strange, that something so invariably needed, would seem surreal.

Iva Kinnaird (b. 1991 Texas, United States) studied Fine Art at the University of Texas and now lives and works in Houston, USA. She has shown extensively across Texas, including at The Reading Room, Dallas (2018); Art League, Houston (2017) and The Modern, Fort Worth (2019). Most recently, her work was presented at the Spring/Break Art Show in New York (2020).

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Are you sitting uncomfortably? Iva Kinnaird’s uncanny couches

January 2021

Iva Kinnaird interviewed by Trale Tevis

December 2020

Exploring Representations of the Self and Distance at Maximillian William Gallery, London

November 2020