Eleven benches, crafted by local and regional furniture artists, not only furnish the galleries but also provide an important link between the Museum and New England artists. The Museum has commissioned benches by Silas Kopf, Kristina Madsen, Dale Broholm, Hank Gilpin, Judy Kensley McKie, Rick Wrigley, Polly Cassel, Rosanne Somerson, Mark Del Guidice, Wendy Stayman, and Jason Berg.
Silas Kopf is widely regarded as one of the finest marquetry artists working today. In the marquetry technique, small, flat, thin (1/32 inch) pieces of wood of various hues are laid down on a surface to create an image, an illusion of three dimensions or “a painting in wood.” The theme of this bench is the arts themselves, with four images on the backrests representing architecture, sculpture, photography, and painting. The panel representing painting shows the arms and hands of an artist, the right one holding a palette and the left one painting a portrait. The artist has so skillfully placed and finished the wood that it can, however briefly, fool the viewer into seeing it as a painted or printed image. The artist took the ruse to another level, for the likeness being painted is his own.