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John Procario

Copyright © 2017 Todd Merrill All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below. Todd Merrill & Associates, Inc. 80 Lafayette Street New York, NY 10013 Printed in the United States of America Procario, John. John Procario / Todd Merrill. 1. artist — monograph. First Edition. 14 / 1 Book design by Dallas Dunn

John Procario

Todd Merrill

Self published using New York, NY 3

Todd Merrill Studio For over fifteen years, Todd Merrill Studio has exhibited and purveyed the finest selection of post-war American studio furniture. Shortly after Rizzoli published his seminal book on the subject, “Modern Americana: Studio Furniture from High Craft to High Glam”, 2008, Merrill launched Studio Contemporary, representing the work of an international group of established and emerging contemporary artists. Today, their work is sought after by a wide range of art patrons, from collectors and decorators, to curators and museum academics. While each artist uses his or her own chosen medium-from textile to porcelain, to marble and LEDs--their joint curation at Studio Contemporary relies upon their shared drive to push those materials to their absolute aesthetic limits. The result: dynamic, handmade, and unique pieces that contribute to today’s increasingly relevant “grey space” between art and design. The gallery has progressively cultivated and established new artists, placing their work into private and public collections which include The Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum (New York), The Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), The Museum of Art and Design (New York), The

Victoria and Albert Museum (London), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), The High Museum of Art (Atlanta), and The Brooklyn Museum (New York), amongst others. Currently, Studio Contemporary represents the work of Niamh Barry, Colleen Carlson, Ezra Cohen, Sophie Coryndon, Amy Cushing, Marc Fish, Nader Gammas, Stephane Graff, Markus Haase, Molly Hatch, John Hersey, Beth Katleman, Karl Springer LTD, Gary Magakis, Knox Martin, Shari Mendelson, Gareth Neal, Jake Phipps, John Procario, Yard Sale Project, Chris Rucker, and Erin Sullivan. Throughout the year, the gallery exhibits at the best art and design fairs worldwide, including: Design Days Dubai (Dubai), Collective Design Fair (New York), Art Miami (Miami), Design Miami (Basel, Miami), FOG: Design + Art (San Francisco), Pavilion of Arts & Design (New York, Paris, London), Masterpiece (London), Gallery Seoul (South Korea), Spring Masters (New York), The International Fine Art and Antiques Dealer Show (New York), Zona MACO (Mexico City), Salon Art + Design (New York) and The Winter Antiques Show (New York).


Introduction By Todd Merrill

John Procario has a vision for creating forms composed of hand carved wood and a travelling line of light. Each work is drawn floating in space, and presents itself as a unique form that seems to change as the viewer walks around it. This is a mark of great sculpture, minimal yet changing, encouraging the observer to keep looking and to continue the interaction. John himself is humble and confident, with a strong body and flexible mind. His work is very much an expression of self. When I first met John he was laying on the floor under a table in my gallery - he was obsessively interested in wood in any form and all techniques for making. Being brought up in a woodworking shop by his carpenter father, this obsession is in his DNA. As a young artist the simple complexity of his forms is surprising. Though his embracing of LED light as an inspiration and a material in the use of sculpture is very much in sync with his generation. Procario’s sculptural lighting is composed of micro-laminated, cold-pressed bent wood. His process begins by twisting ribbons of paper to explore potential forms and lines of light. However, rather than using these models to control the wood’s shape, he allows the wood some freedom to form the sculpture. The final result is blade carved by hand. The artistic process becomes a collaboration between the artist’s respective vision and the wood’s nature. The understated elegance of John’s work sits well in a glass and steel architectural masterpiece or a humble beach side cottage. It’s universally appealing the basic materials of simple Ash or Walnut combined with natural linen as a soft diffuser for the futuristic LEDs create a universal appeal. It is work that is totally of the 21st century with timeless aura of elemental simplicity that is always chic.


With his Freeform Series Light Sculptures, wood bends and folds into itself in a mesmerizing way, making it seem as if it’s constantly moving. -Design Milk


Freeform 2016 22H x 84W x 36D Inches Ash, LEDs, cotton linen


Procario pushes the limit of breakage to create a sense of strain in the otherwise fluid gestures of his wooden works. Conceptually, this allows beauty to be the product of stress. -Todd Merrill


Freeform II 2017 32H x 27W x 113D Inches Ash, white oil, cotton linen, LEDs


Wood doesn’t always want to work with you when you are freeform bending so you have to work with it. I really enjoy that. Sometimes it takes you in new directions that would never have happened if everything was planned out. John Procario

Freeform III 2017 12H x 30W x 72D Inches Ash with aluminum coating, LEDs, cotton linen


Freeform IV 2017 40H x 160W x40D Inches Ash, cotton linen, LEDs



Todd Merrill What inspires your “Free Form” LED and wood sculpture? John Procario I’m interested in the quality of a line and the movement of a line in space. A line in space is so different than a line on paper. LED is the inspiration for the shape. Wood and linen combine to create a line in space that is soft and flexible - it presents an unexpected use of material - wood, the linen then diffuses the light in an ideal proportion to the sculpture. TM Where did this all start? JP Dad was a builder and I was always building and working in wood. I was obsessed with drawing and began as a drawing major at SUNY Purchase in upstate New York. I switched to sculpture when I found the drawing to be limiting. I took a course in woodworking and that, combined with my focus on sculpture, caused everything to change. I became interested in minimalism and the principal that a sculpture changes from every vantage point as the viewer interacts with it. Brancusi was an influence, especially the Brancusi pedestals which I found to be as important as his sculpture.

Freeform IV 2017 26H x 30W x 68D Inches LED, Sprayed Bronze on Ash Wood



Standing Freeform 2017 84H x 30W x 29D Inches Ash, LEDs, cotton linen


TM How did you develope your technique for creating the Freeforms and Luminaires? JP The technique for making the Freeform and Luminaire lights was largely self-taught. There is currently no manual, book, or course to teach this method of creating “bent� wood forms. For six years, I experimented with every possible way to bend wood - steam, heat, water and then dry, cold, and finally with the wood cut into layers of micro-thin pieces. This method worked the best. The LED and wood together create defined lines that float with a malleable transient quality from one side to the other. There is a purposeful spacial ambiguity, apparently simple, but complicated enough that the viewer does not get it all in one look. My intention is to surprise and draw the viewer in to the piece. TM Your work is unique and signature. How do you see it evolving? JP Recently my ambition has centered around freedom of scale to create a large size work that has a physical impact on the viewer and encourages interaction. My newest work is focused on vertical as well as horizontal pieces and two forms or lines interacting but not meeting. The ultimate expression for me will be in an outdoor setting using wood and LED in a large scale format to create mesmerizing forms that beg interaction and contemplation from the viewer.

Luminaire I 2016 23L x 13W x 12D Inches Ash, LEDs, cotton linen

Luminaire Pendant I 2016 48L x 36W x 25D Inches Ash, LEDs, cotton linen



Todd Merrill


John Procario  
John Procario  

Procario pushes the limit of breakage to create a sense of strain in the otherwise fluid gestures of his wooden works. Conceptually, this al...