David Ireland was raised in Bellingham and attended Western from 1948-1950. He later moved to San Francisco and is now considered one of the most influential Bay Area artists of his generation working in the areas of conceptual and environmental art.
In his original presentation to the Outdoor Sculpture Collection Advisory Board, Ireland stated:
“I have long thought for several years that the chair is perhaps the micro- architecture. A person who is not able to build a residential structure or commercial building may enjoy that experience in the fabrication of a chair.”
“…Part of my history is the design and fabrication of furniture particularly the chair; however I range through a variety of tools and ideas that stay close to sculpture for their inspiration.”
Ireland does not make hard, fast statements or try to prove a theory. He prefers to pose questions, such as how can art function? Here, the answer is in the fact that he designates a functional object as art; makes the “club chair” on the edge between abstraction and representation; and changes our experience by enlarging its scale. Generally a chair is considered the seat of learning and a symbol of aspirations; when monumental, it also stands for distinction and authority.