Cavaliero Finn’s Christmas Show 2011 was a wonderfully produced affair. It’s venue, the Victorian terraced home of Juliana Cavaliero, provided an air of exclusivity but without any pretension or overly hyped masquerade. The show’s exhibits were displayed throughout the ground floor area of the house. Expertly curated by Juliana Cavaliero and Debra Finn, the exhibits were both a part of the home’s fabric, with art and design pieces arranged on tables, walls and shelves, yet distinct enough to be enjoyed and touched without any sense of intrusion.
Both Juliana and Debra founded Cavaliero Finn. Their simple yet significant philosophy suggests that when buying art and design for your own space, it makes sense to see it in a similar environment. As such, art and design placed in situ can help people to appreciate the very real aesthetic and think about how it might work for them. Cavaliero Finn sell affordable pieces from emerging and established artists and designers. It’s an eclectic fusion, and one that was very much in evidence at their Christmas show. Both gracious and attentive hosts, Juliana and Debra were on hand to discuss the art and design on display, doing so with much passion and flair.
I talked with Debra about Cavaliero Finn.
How would you summarise the philosophy of Cavaliero Finn?
We founded Cavaliero Finn from the simple idea that when buying art and design for your home or place of work, it makes sense to view it in a similar environment. We make it our business to seek out the best contemporary art and innovative craft and design pieces, from British-based artists and designer-makers. We then showcase these works, curating regular exhibitions that we set in the comfortable surroundings of a Victorian terrraced family home in Herne Hill, London. Our clients come to us time and time again, knowing they will have the chance to shop in a space where they can enjoy being, having the opportunity to find something affordable that they will treasure for a long time.
What do you feel sets you apart from other art and design curators/exhibitions?
Few galleries curate shows exhibiting both contemporary art and design and fewer still do so in a domestic setting. However, it is a formula that works for us and one that works for our artists and clients. We find the informal setting allows clients to relate to the work more freely; they literally feel at home while viewing the work. The setting allows us to show a wide range of art and design, including lighting, cushions, wallpaper, ceramics and paintings.
What do you look for in an artist or designer?
We know within a few minutes whether or not the artist or designer’s work is for Cavaliero Finn. We tend to rely on that first gut reaction, however there are certain criteria we adhere to. For example, the artists and designers that we represent all produce work that has a strong aesthetic appeal. Although functional, each piece we exhibit must stand alone as a thing of beauty in its own right. Our exhibitions are always group shows and therefore the pieces need to work together. We spend a long time on the hang and installation, making sure the paintings and design are shown at their very best. The ceramics will complement the paintings and are often the finishing touch that enhances and lifts the final show. For example, Sophie Cook’s beautiful, delicate and colourful porcelain pods and bottles can really pull a show together.
Which artists and designers are you currently excited about?
We’re excited about all of our artists and designers. However, if we had to pick out a few individuals, it would be those that we’ve recently discovered. We are very excited about design duo Custhom who are so diverse in their creative output. They have beautiful handmade wallpaper, wonderful and quirky ceramics and stunning cushions. We were completely enchanted by ceramicist Rowena Brown’s part glazed andraku fired houses when we first saw them. These beautifully simplistic ceramic forms are inspired by media images showing the aftermath of environmental and manmade disruption and also from weather-worn and derelict structures in the Scottish landscape. The houses can be seen as isolated forms or as part of a group evoking human interaction and community. We’ve also been very taken by the work of painter Kate Noble, whose current work, a series of diptychs, explores the area between figuration and abstraction. Images are ‘stolen’ using Kate’s mobile phone in public areas. She focuses on those lost in thought on the tube or in deep conversation at a table in a restaurant, totally unaware of the fact that they are being observed. A narrative emerges in Kate’s mind from these ‘stolen’ images, sometimes shaped by literary influences. Kate paints an initial figurative image in oil on linen. She then pastes a photograph of this work onto a board of the same size, abstracting from the replica to arrive at the essence of the image by simplifying the elements. She uses mixed media and resin, and simultaneously works further on the original work.
What do you love most about the work you do?
Both Juliana and I are passionate about everything we exhibit and sell. We work with some of the best British-based artists and designer-makers, all of whom are hugely talented, down to earth and great people. Our clients seem to love what we do and buy from us regularly. Really there’s not much that we don’t love about the work we do.
For more on Cavaliero Finn including show and contact information, visit their website.