On the surface, David Salkin’s “Room for Views” is a whimsical celebration of texture and pattern—a slight divergence from his work as an interior designer, but certainly not much of a leap. The difference, perhaps, is that in “Room for Views,” Salkin gets to let loose and create his ideal room, “with the hopes of discovering a therapeutic and highly customized environment,” says the artist. Upon further consideration, this whimsical celebration turns into a meditation on the arrangement of space. We are asked to pay attention to the many ways our material environment is ordered, from the layout of our cities to the arrangements on our mantles.
The small room on the West Side that makes up Peregrine Program has been transformed into a festive design lair; an offbeat, tacky-tasteful den of aesthetic meandering. Salkin’s patterns seem like attempts to visualize happiness. A black and blue quilt with an irregular checkerboard design spreads across part of the concrete floor, but is strategically folded and rumpled at the edges to play with our sense of perception and skew what could otherwise be a neat pattern. Geometric, Tetris-esque printed vinyl banners featuring offbeat color combinations hang on an adjacent wall, too long to lay neatly. Instead, they rebelliously continue onto the floor, flirting with the edges of a vivacious hand-woven silk rug, also designed by Salkin, which is inhabited by a gorgeous taxidermy leopard head. The head thrusts upward, mouth open, as if emerging from the rug and bestowing more life into the already dynamic composition. There are nods to 1980s-style interior design, with pyrite cubes, color-changing LED strips, glittery mahjong tiles, rhinestones and confetti accessorizing his two-dimensional objects that have been made three-dimensional by way of creative installation. Live tropical plants are just one of the elements giving this installation a distinctly nostalgic, California feel, and perhaps some of this can be attributed to Salkin’s upbringing in Sarasota, Florida.
The gathering of this eclectic collection of materials suits the small gallery, creating a lively environment for us to soak in. This hyperactive, meta-showroom is a fluid contemplation of order and chaos providing many layers of enjoyment. (Kelly Reaves)
Through April 29 at Peregrine Program, 3311 West Carroll