Balletic Influences Permeate These Sculptural Stone Objects

Virtuosic designer Matthew Fisher speaks on his latest collection of stone furniture and vessels, which launched last week at Salon Art + Design.

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Matthew Fisher, the New York–based talent who imbues sculptural stone objects with an anthropological slant, found inspiration in an unexpected place for his latest collection: the ballet. It’s no coincidence that the collection, Elegy, shares a name with the somber final movement of Serenade, George Balanchine’s first full-length American ballet. The production’s origins are steeped in the late choreographer’s vision for New York City Ballet; the composition was created to teach the fledgling company how to perform. Set to Tschaikovsky’s emotive Serenade for Strings, the production has evolved from its origins as a teaching ballet and now also reads as a meditation on the passage of time.

Fisher, a trained dancer and Lincoln Center regular, has channeled that profundity into a collection that represents a new frontier for his creative process. He mostly specialized in tabletop objects until now, but Elegy’s stone lanterns and coffee tables see him work on a much larger scale. Accents rendered in oxidized bronze and pumiced silver reflect his vision for the collection as “jewelry at a monolithic scale.” While natural stone has long been his material of choice, sourcing the marble, quartzite, and onyx used in Elegy took him to more than four continents over the course of a year.

In many ways, Elegy represents the convergence of a lifetime of inspiration found within the arts and beyond. “My father’s work as a geologist had my brothers and me trading playgrounds for quarries and sea cliffs on more than one occasion,” he says. “Later in life as I trained as a dancer in New York City, I lived amongst the travertine temples to the arts in Lincoln Center. In summer, I would lay on the stone benches of the now erased Paul Milstein Plaza to feel the earth’s material radiate heat into my core. As my life took a turn, stone became the material that shaped my understanding of ancient art and architecture.”

Fisher, in turn, pays it forward by expanding the way the rest of us see and understand stone. In his hands, the cold, inert material transforms into a manifestation of divine force. 

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