Despite the desire of desktop 3D printer manufacturers to put a 3D printer in every home, 3D printing is often seen as a technology that is reserved for engineers, scientist and inventors. It’s true that 3D printing started out as a way for companies to prototype and even manufacture their products. It has had a huge impact on various fields, such as the aerospace, automotive and biotech industries. However, more and more we see the technology being embraced by artists and used in ways that are very different from 3D printing’s original purpose. Artists aren’t afraid to embrace new technologies, it’s just another medium and artists are taking advantage of the new technology.

Earlier this month, I attended the Save As… art show at the pop-up BUNKER Gallery in the LES, just a few blocks from New York’s only remaining 3D printer store, iMakr NYC. It was a small space and it was packed. And there was some fascinating 3D printed art to behold. The first thing that caught my eye was right there when I walked in, a sculptural piece by Rosalie Yu that was revolving slowly on a turntable. It was a nice way to display the sculpture as it depicted one figure distorted and wrapped around another figure. You really couldn’t get the full effect without seeing it from different angles. Three more sculptures in the ‘Embrace in Progress’ series were in the back of the gallery and they also portrayed one figure embracing another in an almost ephemeral manner. To create the effect, Yu 3D scanned real people and then combined multiple scans to create a figure moving through space and time.

Yu explains,”Embrace in Progress explores conflicted feelings of shared intimacy. It is inspired by my research about time, 3D scanning technology, and personal experiences with physical intimacy. The project was inspired by slit-scan photography and uses depth sensors to capture a series of intimate embraces. These 3D printed pieces recreate the act of embracing and are represented in a static form by the flow of movement twisted because of time. The final pieces reference classical sculptural composition while exploring new ways of approaching representation of motion and time.”

What are your thoughts on this artwork? Discuss in the 3D Printed Art at Bunker Gallery forum over at 3DPB.com.

 

Also on display at the gallery was Ashley Zelinskie‘s ‘Platonic Solids’. The geometric 10-inch pieces were 3D printed and then plated in copper and nickel. The sides of each piece are composed of letters and numbers, and are a progression of Zelinskie’s Reverse Abstraction  series which includes the ‘US Hexahedron’, a 5-foot sculpture of laser cut aluminum that was made for the US Consulate in Saudi Arab, and the 3D printed ‘Space Triangle’, and ‘One and One Chair’.

According to Zelinskie, “As part of the Reverse Abstraction series, The Platonic Solids project represents an important step in rendering all of human art and culture conceivable to machines. The five platonic solids – the tetrahedron, hexahedron, octahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron – have been revered since antiquity. Their unique characteristics of symmetry and aesthetic appeal have made them cornerstones of math, science, art and mythology for millennia. Their rare perfection and role as nexus for so many cultural strains positions the platonic solids as essential starting points for communicating human culture to machines. By using hexadecimal code to construct each of the five platonic solids, and by placing them at five different locations around the globe, these foundational shapes and their universal import will be made perceivable to all of our descendants, both human and machine.”

It’s really fascinating to see how two artists can use 3D printing in very different ways, from classic geometric shapes to distorted human figures. Clearly, 3D printing is a medium that inspires artists and begs to ask if technology drives art or does the art transform the technology. What are your thoughts?

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