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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.