Ceramics: Art and Perception No. 82 2010
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
.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.
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
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
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 onlyreects 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
at The Crane Arts Building, a 1905 structure designed by Walter Ballinger, an early innovator in the use of castconcrete construction
. The Crane’s unique interior, so dif-ferent from that of a white-box gallery, conspired with theinventive works in
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
A Review byDylan J Beck
David S East.
2010.Slip cast ceramics, carpeting, DVD animation.Photo by Ken Yanoviak.Neil Forrest and Del Harrow.
2010.Glazed ceramic, wood and lighting.Photo by John Carlano.