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Published by Bhader Kadeem
ceramic
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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Bhader Kadeem on Nov 21, 2012
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Ceramics: Art and Perception No. 82 2010
68
T
he
 
exhibiTion
 
fabricating
 
ideas
 ,
curaTed
 
by
 
forresT
 
Snyder and Chad Curtis in conjunction with the 2010NCECA conference, showcased a group of artistswho have incorporated computer-aided technology intotheir studio practices. Snyder, a Baltimore, Maryland artist,is known for his creation of the web forum
Critical Ceramics
.Curtis, an assistant professor in the Tyler School of Art,Temple University in Philadelphia, has designed compu-ter-aided milling and drawing machines and incorporatedthem and their products into his ceramic and mixed-mediasculptures. Those invited to participate in the exhibition(David East, Neil Forrest, Del Harrow, Jeanne Quinn andSteven Thurston) are all artists formally trained in ceram-ics. According to Curtis, the intention was to combine thehands-off nature of the technology with sensibilities drawnfrom experience with the tactile properties of clay.
1
What started with Snyder’s invitation to Curtis to co-curate an exhibition evolved into a collaborative groupproject through an extended discourse and multiple crea-tive studio sessions. The seven artists had been workingwith the concepts exhibited in
Fabricating Ideas
for nearlyfour years and the resulting exhibition displayed a spec-trum of approaches to the use of emerging technologiesand a range of expertise within the learning curves for theserespective technologies. Non-traditional art-making toolssuch as CNC (computer numerical controlled) devices andCAD (computer-aided design) software have been in use inindustry for decades but only recently have these becomeaccessible to studio artists. Until just a few years ago theleast expensive 3D printers still cost in excess of $40,000USD but recently engineers and designers have developed‘desktop’ 3D printers, such as the CupCake CNC fromMakerbot Industries and the Fab@Home open-source (non-proprietary software and hardware) 3D printer developed by Hod Lipson and Evan Malone of the Cornell UniversityComputational Synthesis Laboratory. These can be pur-chased for as little as $700 USD.Many of the
Fabricating Ideas
artists are associated withuniversity art departments committed to cutting-edgeresearch. Working in academic environments where toolssuch as laser etching/engraving devices and 3D print-ers are available has allowed them to pursue ideas witha great deal of latitude. That freedom was manifestedin the studio during the collaborative sessions held at James Madison University in Harrison, Virginia and theMaryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland.Through these sessions and through their individualwork, the artists developed an exhibition that not onlyreects a wide range of approaches to and unique uses of technology but also presages the next chapter in the tech-nical progression of art making.Given the emerging-technology theme, it was especiallyappropriate that the exhibition was hosted by the
GraySpace
at The Crane Arts Building, a 1905 structure designed by Walter Ballinger, an early innovator in the use of castconcrete construction
2
. The Crane’s unique interior, so dif-ferent from that of a white-box gallery, conspired with theinventive works in
Fabricating Ideas
to evoke a century of pioneering technologies. The ceiling of exposed cast con-crete and the dark gray walls augmented the depth of thespace above the pitted, 100-year-old concrete oor but, moreimportantly, the pervasiveness of grey with its metaphori-cal suggestions of indeterminate space (grey areas) sym- bolically situated the exhibition on the conceptual median
FabricatingIdeas
A Review byDylan J Beck
David S East.
Rosette Generation.
2010.Slip cast ceramics, carpeting, DVD animation.Photo by Ken Yanoviak.Neil Forrest and Del Harrow.
 /Pequod Chop/.
2010.Glazed ceramic, wood and lighting.Photo by John Carlano.
 
Ceramics: Art and Perception No. 82 2010
69
seemed to ooze like used motor oil. The fourth form, of  blue glazed clay, was a geometric wave frozen at its crestand supported from behind by a steel pipe. Generatedfrom a digital model, the form was translated into a pressmould of plywood polygonal shapes, a method of con-struction clearly recorded on the sculpture’s surface.The domestic interior was more directly addressedin David East’s
Rosette Generation
and
Crown
series. Theformer comprised two arrays of slip-cast house silhouetteswhose three-dimensional form was drawn from perspecti-val recession. These two rosettes lay upon a swath of friezecarpet, a type used for high trafc and industrial/retailapplications, while an animation of the rosettes played ona small LCD screen. The arrangement, with its incorpora-tion of an existing replace, conjured the image of a childlying on the oor watching a cartoon amid merchandisedtoys from that cartoon.Mounted on the wall near
Rosette Generation
was East’s
Crown
series, the title of which refers to the crown mould-ing found in interior architectural applications, in this case,domestic architecture. In Kosuthian manner, there were threerepresentations of various instances of crown moulding. Inthe centre was a grid presentation of appropriated Googleimages of moulding of the undistinguished type found incontemporary houses. Flanking these were three-dimen-sional laser-cut r plywood models and a vinyl silhouette.This multi-faceted investigation of space-dening decorativeembellishment illustrated the features of domestic interiorarchitecture through what seemed an obsessive/compulsivescrapbook presentation.On the other side of the
Gray Space
 , along the windowedwall, was a collaborative piece by Forrest and Harrow. between the handmade and the fabricated, the traditionaland the vanguard.Arrayed along the wall opposite a bank of windowswere the works of Thurston’s
Origins Of Allegories
 , a seriesof furniture-grade wooden discs. The undulating charg-ers of eastern hardwood framed small prototypes of pla-tonic solids: dodecahedrons and icosahedrons that haveepitomized human conception on an abstract plane sincethe rst millennium BCE. Though each was isolated in itsown shrine for singular contemplation, these reectionsof geometric truth were interconnected through a net-work of antiquated electrical wiring and internal lighting.Inherently complex but regular, the platonic solids read-ily lent themselves to CAD and rapid prototypical pro-duction. Printing these intricate objects in resin-injectedplaster on a Z-Corp 3D printer, Thurston rendered themin nearly perfect form then underscored this achievement– the dream of ancient mathematicians and philosophers – by presenting each model in elegant illumination.Due to the built-in language of CAD Software, patternand regular geometry were the hallmarks in
FabricatingIdeas
. Moving off of the wall to the centre of the room wereHarrow’s four provisional models, an installation consist-ing of three non-objective forms and a polygonal houseplant of black porcelain in a hand-rendered terracottaplanter. Supporting a nebulous wire frame structure of resin-dripping oak dowels was a more regular structureof copper water pipes, suggesting a functioning, thoughclosed, interior architectural system. This closed sys-tem evoked the increasingly cloistered interior domesticspaces of contemporary suburban/exurban neighbor-hoods, while a puddle of red black clay, adjacent to it,
Steven Thurston.
Origins of Allegories.
Photo by Ken Yanoviak

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