Archive

Tag Archives: arts

In summer 2016, I received Myers Foundation research funding from the WVU School of Art and Design to create the Character Generator series, my first body of work made entirely with 3D scanning and 3D printing processes. I began this series by scanning small temporary studies made from clay, metal, wood, and other found objects, a process which unified each of these disparate constructions into a cohesive whole. This aspect of the process was quite liberating, as it allowed me to work in a direct, improvisational manner, much like creating a digital collage. My preconceived notion of 3D scanning was that it would be just like making a mold to reproduce an exact replica of an object. However, I found this process was more akin to taking a fleeting, snapshot impression of an object, and I fully embraced the distortions and digital chatter inherent to these technologies.

In fall 2016, I had the pleasure of discussing this research project at the annual Southeast College Art Conference (SECAC) in Roanoke, Virginia. My presentation, entitled Fragments of Signifiers: 3D Printing & Scanning As Digital Collage, was part of the panel discussion No Hands?: Digital Fabrication and Craftsmanship chaired by artist McArthur Freeman, with fellow artist panelists Kelly O’Briant and Ryan Buyssens. All in all, I think The Character Generator series marks a significant and very exciting step in my artistic growth. The process of assembling these sculptures imbues the Character Generator series with appealing qualities of memory, humor, and cryptic beauty, and I have no doubt this research will lead to more ambitious art making endeavors using new technologies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1956, sculptor Milton Horn created carved stone pylons for the West Virginia University School of Medicine Morgantown Campus. These four towering columns contain eight carved relief scenes celebrating the history of medicine. As a tribute to his late wife Estelle, Horn donated his original plaster studies of these pylons to the West Virginia University School of Medicine Charleston Campus in 1982. In a collaborative effort between West Virginia University Health Sciences and the West Virginia University College of Creative Arts, I was commissioned to reproduce these panels for display at the West Virginia University School of Medicine Eastern Campus in Martinsburg, symbolically linking our university’s three medical school campuses. I delivered and installed the first panel in August, and the second panel was delivered in mid-October. I am on track to finish and deliver three more panels this academic year, and I expect to fully complete this project by fall 2017.

The Eastern Pylons project is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever undertaken, and I’m really pleased with the results. This project has allowed me to combine my knowledge of casting and metal fabrication methods to create large scale finished artworks, while also affording me on-the-job training in the use of new art-making materials, such as Winterstone-casting mix and Smooth-On Equinox silicone rubber mold putty. Working at this scale is certainly not a one-person job, so I am forever grateful to my student workers Cornelius Hugo, Kevin Brennan, and Matt Jarrett, as their hard work and camaraderie has been instrumental in the success of this project.

 

 

 

Here to There, an exhibition by faculty from the West Virginia University School of Art and Design, opened recently at the Huntington Museum of Art. All 14 of our studio art faculty participated in Here to There, so this exhibit does an excellent job showcasing the hallmarks of our program, including a breadth of creative approaches, attention to matters of craftsmanship, and engagement with contemporary issues. Here to There is on display from March 19-June 12, 2016.

 

My solo exhibition Color Coded opened recently at Washington and Jefferson College’s Olin Art Gallery, marking the first time that the entire Color Coded series (2005-2012) has been exhibited in the same venue. The most fun part of this show, besides getting nearly a decade’s worth of anatomically-inspired artwork under one roof, was creating a large scale graphite wall drawing specifically for the gallery. Drawing directly on the wall definitely added a fresh new dimension to the overall exhibit, and the monochromatic quality of the graphite was a nice contrast to the layered, multicolored qualities of the works in this series. Color Coded is on display from October 30-December 6, 2015.

After an intense summer filled with numerous teaching obligations & round-the-clock art-making, I am happy to announce the opening of my solo exhibition Match Cut in the West Virginia University Creative Arts Center’s Laura Mesaros Gallery. On view from September 1-October 2, this show explores our collective need for classification and organization, especially as the desires and limitations of our organic bodies conflict with this quest for order. I use various fabrication techniques and meticulous craftsmanship to explore these conceptual interests, manipulating iconic imagery & familiar objects from our educational, governmental, and scientific institutions in order to draw attention to the impermanent & transitory nature of cultural authority.

This exhibition takes its title, Match Cut, from a film editing technique where seamless transitions between scenes help draw together the visual, metaphorical connections between objects and actions. I drew inspiration from this cinematic device, creating a series of cast & forged metal sculptures, mixed media panel works, and manipulated found object pieces that are cozily familiar yet imbued with surreal, dreamlike qualities. I really like the way this new body of work fits together, and I look forward to creating more artwork in the same vein.

Here are two recently completed cast iron school desk sculptures, from the 39 & Holding series. To create these sculptures, I first placed sunflowers on the desk tops, and then resin bonded sand molds were packed around these forms. After the molds hardened, the desks & sunflowers were removed and the pieces were cast as open-faced molds. The first piece in this series collapsed during casting, but its irregular form was incredibly intriguing, so I decided to work with the casting in this raw state. After being cast, these pieces were heated & finished with a brass brush & paste wax, which gave them a rich, lustrous finish.

The title of this series references the classic Jerry Lee Lewis song “39 & Holding,” a tune about the inevitable cycles of aging which became considerably more relevant in the past couple of years as I transitioned out of my thirties. I decided to carve thirty-nine hash marks into each of the molds, creating a deep, gestural tally to signify the passage of time. Sunflowers have long been featured in both art and religion as symbolic markers of growth and decay, and they were a prominent fixture in the rural landscape where I grew up, so I had a range of conceptual, art historical, and auto-biographical reasons for using these flowers as imagery.

I had an amazing time this past month teaching in the Mountaineer Summer Drawing Academy, a three-day art camp for high schoolers held on the campus of West Virginia University. After spending the better part of the past year planning for this event, I was thrilled to see our joint venture between the College of Creative Arts and the WVU Extension Service come together so successfully!

Students received instruction in both observational and mixed media drawing, while also exploring “Exquisite Corpse” drawings, a group collaborative exercise made famous by 20th-century Surrealists. Other camp highlights included button making, a storytelling session with entertainer Adam Booth, and various interaction with State 4-H Days participants. Now that we’ve had a successful maiden voyage for this camp, I am looking forward to planning next year’s session and growing both the number of participants and the scope of this program.

 

 

By far my favorite project from the past year was our Fall 2013 Iron Pour. Held on Friday, November 8, at the West Virginia University Creative Arts Center, this event helped inaugurate “Sputnik”, a portable iron-casting furnace that Fairmont State University sculpture faculty Jeremy Entwistle and I began building over the summer. Our pour crews cast around 3000 pounds of iron over the course of the day, which exceeded expectations for the capacity and durability of this new furnace. We also had excellent media coverage and a healthy turnout from the public, all of which contributed to making this event a resounding success.

Jeremy and I and students from our respective programs were joined by Shepherd University sculpture faculty Christian Benefiel and his students, as well as friends from the Pittsburgh iron casting community. In addition, alumni Emily Walley, Brett Kern, Jennifer Rockage McGhee, and Jamie Lester were invited to be visiting artists for the event, all of who cast iron for the first time.

Local businesses, including Construction Supply Company (CSC), 3 Rivers Iron and Metal, and Jack’s Recycling generously contributed materials and supplies for the iron pour. In addition, local metal fabrication company Wilson Works gave us great technical support by cutting out precision parts for “Sputnik”, and Morgantown restaurant Atomic Grill provided catered food for the event.

Big thanks goes out to Daniela Londoño Bernal for photographing this event, as well as Glynis Board from West Virginia Public Broadcasting for her excellent radio segment, which can be found here. The radio story also included a short video documenting the pour, which is linked below.

Looking back on 2013, I think the most challenging yet enjoyable project I took part in was the Morgantown Tree by artist Carol Hummel.

The School of Art and Design at West Virginia University invited Hummel to be a visiting artist for the 2013-2014 academic year. In addition to having a gallery exhibition, she put forth a proposal to work with students and community members to cover a large tree on our Evansdale Campus with crocheted yarn. Hummel has an impressive record of creating similar crocheted installations in Cleveland Heights, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Drangedal, Norway and New Delhi, India, so I thought it would be quite a coup for her to create a project in Morgantown.

Once Hummel’s project was approved, a workforce had to be organized to make all the crocheted elements. I served as Hummel’s de facto project manager, helping her coordinate with the university and community groups involved in the installation. Because this was a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity, we decided early on that our sculpture students would assist Hummel. Members of the Morgantown community, including campus knitting groups and residents at The Village at Heritage Point (a senior retirement community), also made invaluable contributions to this project. There was palpable synergy among all participants, and due to excellent teamwork and a stretch of great weather, the installation was finished in only six days.

The Morgantown Tree was created in conjunction with Morgantown’s 2013 celebration of The Year of the Tree (YOTT). By choosing a prominent location for this installation, Hummel’s project enjoyed high visibility for both on-and off-campus populations. She used an open stitch for this installation, which allows the trees to breathe without damaging their growth, and her chosen synthetic yarn will hold its color well for the next several years.

This past weekend, my colleague Jeremy Entwistle and I took students from our respective sculpture programs at Fairmont State University and West Virginia University to Salem, New York, for the 7th Annual Intercollegiate Iron Pour at Salem Art Works (SAW). We were invited to SAW by their Foundry Director Michael “Bones” Bonadio, who was a visiting artist for our sculpture programs last spring. The weather all weekend was spectacular, there was a great spirit of camaraderie, and we had the distinction of traveling the farthest of any schools in attendance, all of which contributed to making this a worthwhile journey. Besides the iron pour, other highlights of this event included a Friday night pyrotechnic performance, The Temporally Coincident Occurences of Causal Events, by New England Sculpture Service Manager of Operations Marjee Levine and students from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, an inspiring guest lecture by veteran iron artist Joe McCreary, and some terrific exhibitions of artworks created by both emerging artists and iron pour attendees.