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Tag Archives: sculpture

My solo exhibition Once Familiar recently took place at the University of Rio Grande’s Esther Allen Greer Museum. This was a great opportunity to show a majority of the artworks from the Once Familiar series, and the museum’s cozy familiarity definitely enhanced the surreal qualities of these pieces. In addition, having this exhibit deadline motivated me to finish up a large group of Memory Vessel sculptures, which enhanced the conversation among everything on display.

 

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My solo exhibition Color Coded recently concluded at the Engine Room Art Space in Hagerstown, Maryland. This was an excellent venue, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to exhibit the majority of the anatomically-themed sculptures and drawings from this body of work. Though I’ve taken a break from these pieces over the past couple of years, this exhibit has inspired to revisit the formal and conceptual themes of the Color Coded series in the very near future.

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Last week, I was in Birmingham, Alabama, for the National Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art & Practices (NCCCIAP). The backdrop for this biennial event was Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, a truly a remarkable venue that stands out as America’s only blast furnace from the last century being preserved and interpreted as an historic industrial site. There was a great slate of activities for the NCCCIAP, including hands-on demonstrations, mold making workshops, student cupola competitions, guest furnace demonstrations, panel discussions, and art exhibitions. The grassroots, intergenerational character of the NCCCIAP was incredibly inspiring, and I hope to get back to Sloss for the next iteration of this event.

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.

 

 

 

This past semester, I participated in a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics ) education project at Morgantown’s North Elementary School. Sponsored by a grant from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, this project had three primary components, one of which was to create a garden environment for attracting regional birds. My WVU School of Art and Design colleague Joseph Lupo helped the North students use their bird research to create mini comics, while my sculpture students and I focused on designing and building a birdhouse structure.

To begin the birdhouse component of this project, my sculpture students were tasked with creating steel butterflies, flowers, snails, and leaves, which tied into our classroom study of forging, welding, and other metal fabrication techniques. Meanwhile, 4th grade students from North were utilizing their bird research, drawing these creatures onto steel panels with chalk. I took these panels back to our studio and cut them out with a plasma torch, and then these bird panels and my sculpture students’ flora and fauna were cleaned up and painted in multiple bright colors.

I set wooden posts in concrete and built the final birdhouse structure with my friend Aaron Lutz, a WVU forestry program student working at North this year with the AmeriCorps VISTA program. The completed piece contains approximately nine birdhouses, 33 steel bird panels, 33 steel items created by my sculpture students, and a stainless steel nameplate. This project gave my students and I the opportunity to collaborate with students, teachers, and administrators at North in a truly unique manner, and out of the things I did in this amazingly busy school year, this was probably the most enjoyable project to take on.

 

 

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.