Jim Isermann is known for formally rigorous, optically dynamic work that stands at the forefront of the cross-fertilization of art and design. For this exhibition, Isermann has created wall-to-wall carpeting based on a modular geometric pattern. Almost three hundred identical 36”-square carpet tiles, printed in red and yellow, are centered on a grid. The tiles have been rotated in two directions so that sequences of five different shapes occur diagonally across the floor.
In collaboration with Judith Tannenbaum, RISD’s Curator of Contemporary Art, Isermann selected the objects on the walls and floor from the Museum’s collection. Resonating with his interests in geometric forms and logical systems, these include abstract painting, sculpture, furniture and decorative art, works on paper, and textiles dating from the 1920s to the 1970s, arranged chronologically (clockwise around the room, starting at the northeast wall), except where scale or sensitivity to light made this unreasonable.
By exhibiting nonutilitarian “fine art” together with examples of “applied art,” Logic Rules underscores how art and design are inseparable in everyday life and how the handmade coexists with the mass-produced. Particular artistic styles or movements may go in and out of fashion, but the inherent beauty of repeated patterns and colors will always enliven out environment.