Mike A. Bryan, Staff Writer

Gallery 210 is a small, intimate space located in the same building as the campus police, right across from the University of Missouri-St. Louis North MetroLink station. They frequently showcase local artists of various types, some of whom are affiliated with UMSL.

If you have never checked it out, take a few minutes and go through their galleries. The rooms are small, with manageable exhibits that are focused and well-curated. The shows change every few months, with the gallery often featuring more than one small show at a time. Currently, there is a single show featuring local furniture maker and wood sculptor Peter Voss.

Educated at St. Louis University, Peter Voss has been working in the furniture industry in St. Louis for decades. He worked for many years as a furniture retailer and broker, and eventually began to design his own pieces. Since retiring from furniture sales, he devotes all of his time to producing wooden furniture and sculptures in his downtown St. Louis workshop. His approach is less about the end result and more about the actual pieces of wood that he is able to find and buy. Peter likes to maintain the natural beauty of the wood, knots and all, giving his pieces an organic feel that makes them seem older than they actually are. Although he incorporates all of the imperfections of the wood, his works are still elegant and masterful.  

The show is titled “Simply Different,” which seems an apt description for the underlying design theme. The lines in his works are simple, with smart details and clever combinations of wood types and other materials. Voss uses a mid-century modern style for many of the pieces, integrating multiple types of woods or stone in contrasting colors and textures. This style is a friendly mix of sharp angles and smooth curves and lends itself well to his found-wood pieces. A number of the pieces in the show have quirky animal or human figurines attached to them in obvious or slightly hidden ways, adding a touch of humor to the otherwise serious art of furniture design. There are even a few pieces that have built-in lighting, vaguely reminiscent of the lighting fixtures that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for his homes.

Peter Voss is a true master craftsman, merging simple lines, contrasting wood grains, sharp corners, and rounded edges into something that is truly memorable and beautiful. There are times when the sum of the parts is greater than the whole—this is the opposite. The finished piece is even greater than the sum of the parts. Gallery 210 is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the UMSL North Campus. The show runs until March 17.