What is left (2010-11)
Object Gallery, Sydney, Australia; Righton Gallery, Manchester; DMU Cube Gallery, Leicester; The Poly, Falmouth;
The aim of this research was to develop an artwork that embodied and communicated the fluidity of a fixed form while employing 3D computer modelling software and rapid prototyping. The curators of the group exhibition Inside Out offered “the opportunity to experience and explore emerging digital design techniques and rapid prototyping tools and methods and to venture outside their usual medium.” For my exhibited piece, entitled What is left, I firstly made an analogue sculpture, squashing together small throwaway plastic toys with clay, before scanning this and reproducing using state-of-the-art stereolithography techniques. In deploying this method, rather than going straight from original CAD to object, I discovered a series of flaws within the scanner that struggled to read and recreate undercuts. These omissions had to be rectified using digital stitching and filling processes.
In relation to sculpture, viewers of the artwork saw clay as the epitome of human manipulation of natural forms and the little toys as mass-manufactured plastic units. In this context What is left fits into my wider research question around the role of play in sculpture, paying homage as it does to the unnamed person that first modelled the master toy and a child playing with malleable materials such as clay. The small sculpture also explores the artist’s own memory of imaginative and anthropomorphic play. What is left was presented as part of the international touring exhibition of miniature sculpture Inside Out, curated by Claire Smith. All works in the exhibition were produced by rapid prototyping and the exhibition premiered in The Object Gallery, Sydney. The exhibition was a collaboration between six institutions including the Art Technology Coalition, the University of Technology Sydney and RMIT University in Australia, De Montfort University, Manchester Metropolitan University and Dartington College of Arts at University College Falmouth in the United Kingdom.