Last April, Pennsylvania-based East Stroudsburg University’s (ESU) Art + Design Department got a big boost from a new G3Design lab housed in the ESU Fine and Performing Arts Center — a fine complement to the Center’s Madelon Powers Art Gallery (pictured above). Featuring seven 3D printers (including two MakerBot Replicator 5th Generation printers and a Stratasys E1200), 3D scanners, a CNC laser cutter, a CNC milling machine, and a vinyl cutter, this new lab has creates more enthusiasm on campus for 3D printing, and this extends to a current 3D printed art exhibit that opens today, February 2, 2015, in the Madelon Powers Art Gallery.
Joni Oye-Benintende, Director of the Madelon Powers Art Gallery, is Chair of the Art + Design Department at the University. She told 3DPrint.com that the idea for the exhibit “has been percolating in [her] mind for over a year,” and she is very excited about 3D printing’s “wide variety of aesthetic possibilities”:
“Artists are discovering a whole new medium — much like the invention of acrylic paint or paper clay. And because of their infinite curiosity and innovation in pursuit of solutions to their aesthetic inquiry, artists have the potential to develop ways to use the technology that may someday be used by industry. We already see it in the design of all kinds of 3D printed items for the home, for fashion, for medical use. It’s a wonderful cycle.”
One can see how committed Oye-Benintende is to developing relationships across disciplines, as she describes this as the prime motivating factor in the criteria she used to choose artists for this exhibit. The “5 in 3D: Artists and Designers Using 3D Printing” will exhibit the work of five designer/artists who create sculpture and jewelry in diverse manners with one main thing in common: they all 3D print their work. Sophie Kahn, Kacie Hultgren, Doug Bucci, Darlene Farris-LaBar, and Bathsheba Grossman are the artists selected by Madelon Powers Art Gallery to demonstrate the strengths that 3D printing brings to the world of sculpture and jewelry design. But their work also traverses the multi-disciplinary campus, as Oye-Benintende wanted to involve as many academic departments as possible in the exhibit.
“I love Sophie’s work because it is so close to my own aesthetic,” she explains. “I am honored that Bathsheba accepted my invitation… I felt that her use of math in developing her forms would resonate with the math department here. I felt that Doug’s use of biological data in his forms would be interesting to biology and computer science students. We are trying to evangelize 3D printing here on campus — to show other academic departments the relationship of Art and the STEM subjects. We are STEAM proponents here. Darlene is on the faculty here and is doing exciting work combining her interest in the environment with 3D printing. One of our Theater Department faculty…knew Kacie from her work in theater…”
The exhibited artists were chosen for their established artistry as well as their ability to bridge disciplines in accordance with the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) educational model. Here is a brief overview of the artists’ works; 3DPrint.com also features here “behind the scenes” photos of the works as they will appear in the exhibit.
Sophie Kahn and Darlene Farris-LaBar: On Fragility
The works of Sophie Kahn and Darlene Farris-LaBar have been recently featured on our website, and the inclusion of these two artists proves to be an excellent choice as they both feature the social and environmental costs of a society awash in technology. Kahn’s “poetics of failed technology” approach renders haunting and fragile-seeming sculptural figures and faces, and Farris-LaBar’s endangered flowers offer 3D printed renderings of the high cost of environmental destruction on our native flora. Kahn is a New York-based artist who uses 3D scanning and printing to reveals “the poetics” of technology’s failure to fully capture life. Her work has been internationally exhibited and she is also exhibiting her work in a current show in Pelham, New York Art Center’s TechNoBody exhibit.
While Kahn focuses on disappeared lives, through a detailed portrayal of technology’s limitations, Darlene Farris-LaBar’s art captures the “fragile ecological state” of disappearing native flora. Farris-LaBar is an Art + Design associate professor at ESU, and she has been actively involved in the exhibit. She has also been key in the new campus G3Design lab, as it educates students and the community on the advantages of 3D printing.
Farris-LaBar stated her views on 3D printing education to 3DPrint.com:
“I feel that more and more people are hearing about it but they have a tough time understanding how it works until they finally see it in action. Once I demonstrate the process to students and people of the community, there is an instant understanding and suddenly, their imaginations take off with all of the possibilities of what 3D printing can bring in to our world. The students absolutely love it! I have introduced 3D printing to all levels of instruction It has brought an exciting dimension to teaching and I am proud to offer my students an additional skill from our contemporary times that can lead them to a successful career.”
Farris-LaBar’s presence is all over this exhibit as she has helped build up the necessary behind-the-scenes campus and community enthusiasm and education on 3D printing as well as offering her own 3D printed flowers for exhibition.
Bathsheba Grossman and Doug Bucci: Foregrounding Form
The sculptural and jewelry design work of Bathsheba Grossman is also on display in the exhibit. Grossman is a long-time 3D printing artist whose detailed work runs an amazing spectrum from 3D printed smaller abstract metal sculptures that run from 2″ to 4″ in diameter, to her “Pure Math” series, as well as jewelry and housewares (lamps, knobs, wine bottle stoppers, bottle openers) — all available for printing at Shapeways. Her work explores the space between math, art, and life, and it addresses the experience of “living in three dimensions, finding symmetry and balance, feeling for the tension between pure geometry and natural forms.”
Grossman told 3DPrint.com about her views on 3D printing:
“People imagine it is magic and can do anything, but metals and plastics will only do what those materials can do. In addition, the printing process imposes severe restrictions on surface finish, structural integrirty, and material selection. This is no different from any art medium; just as you wouldn’t try to use oil paint in the same way as watercolors, it’s necessary to learn the nature and limts of 3D printing to get the best use from it.” Grossman states on her website that she has studied much math, and while she uses math more indirectly these days, it informs her sense of “symmetry and topology”.
The 3D printed jewelry work of Doug Bucci, who uses his own lifelong experience with diabetes as one design source for his original creations, is included here as well. His “Mellitus” designs take their name directly from “Diabetes Mellitus.” The designer/artist reports in a video on his website that he’s been using an insulin pump for the past ten years to manage his diabetes. A continuous glucose monitoring system (CGM) is a small transmitter worn on the body that monitors glucose levels and send info to the pump. Since the CGM is worn on the body, Bucci got the idea to generate form based on the information that the monitor provides. His work “Mellitus” is a three-month collection of his blood glucose data, which is shared with computer software to create 3D models that are exported and 3D printed. The final result is jewelry that communicates the physical state its wearer, with the goal to emulate the Lance Armstrong bracelets or the breast cancer ribbons — only for Diabetic Awareness instead.
Kacie Hultgren: Pretty Small Things
Another 3D printing designer/artist doing important work in the field of very small printed objects is Kacie Hultgren, who is a multidisciplinary designer focused on set design for live performance. Hultgren has been using 3D printing since 2011, she produces digital fabrication tutorials for Lynda.com, and she is part of MAKE Magazine’s 3D printing test team. She creates details for scale models using her MakerBot, and the pieces for this show are 3D printed commercially in “high detail plastics, SLS polyamide, and cast metals.” Hultgren makes her designs available via Shapeways and Thingiverse, which she credits for being the catalyst for 3D printing explorations — as she reported to 3DPrint.com:
“Sharing my work online provided feedback, both artistic and technical, and I quickly got addicted to the high of seeing duplicates of my work spring up across the world. Seeing my furniture in dollhouses, playsets, and dioramas is pretty common. Some of the more specific uses included a wedding seating chart incorporating some of my tables and a phone charging dock made from a scan of an armchair. I still post designs publicly, but my focus currently is on developing more designs that are suitable for commercial 3D printing, as well as developing tutorial content that teaches the basics of Digital Fabrication.”
“One of our Theater Department faculty, Yoshi Tanokura, knew Kacie from her work in theater and I knew of her from Maker Faire workshops, so I was excited she was able to not only show her work but conduct workshops for our students and the local community.”
It looks as if ESU’s academic community is open to 3D printing’s endless possibilities, as 3D printing’s educational potential is embraced by the whole community. As Oye-Benintende states, art is a driving force in education: “I encourage students to be curious and to learn as much as they can about everything they can. For me, art drives good design, creativity and innovation.”
You can check out the exhibit for yourself beginning on February 2, 2015, with an opening reception, an artists’ talk, and workshops planned as well. Let us know if you attend, we’d love to hear about it! Join the discussion on 3D printed art in the “5 in 3D” Exhibition forum thread over at 3DPB.com.