One of the researchers at Falmouth was an artist called Justin Marshall. He showed me some of his previous projects and one in particular which used the body to make 3D sculptures. He writes…
The ‘Solid Shadow’ works are derived from shadows (2D profiles) of my body. Within a computer modeling environment 3D digital forms were created by a process of ‘skinning’ (i.e. a simultaneous rotation in three dimensions). The forms are therefore the result of an immaterial absence (i.e. a shadow) being made materially present (i.e. a physical sculpture).
Within the computer environment the digital model was sliced into a series of 2D outlines which where cut out of thin foam sheet using a computer controlled laser. These 2D sections where then stacked to recreate the digital model in physical form, hence yet another dimensional transformation played a significant part in the making of these works.
The resulting works are bodily without being directly figurative, their stepped surfaces allude to topological maps, while the forms as a whole come in and out of recognition as you move around them.
Solid Shadow – crouched figure 3 (2001)
So there are a lot of similarities with what I’m trying to do. I really like the phrase ‘bodily without being directly figurative’, and can see it perfectly fits what he was doing. I suppose the difference with what I’m doing is that I am trying to make the objects directly figurative; not as a single fixed pose but across a passage of time. Thus the resulting abstraction (or should that be extrusion?) is certainly bodily.
Justin had do consider a lot of the things I’m now considering, to do with contouring, voxelisation artefacts, and how to finish the surface of these machine rendered objects. He also said that people read into his figures narratives which he hadn’t deliberately put in there in the first place, but that this enriched the viewing experience.
network 1 & 2 (1999)
Here are some some precise prints from full body shadows, where the shadows have been converted into wire frames and then look to have been rotated through 360 degrees on a couple of different axis in 3D software and rendered as a print. The decisions made to produce these images interest me – to what extent were they arbitrary or induced by playing with 3D modelling packages? If they are arbtrary (or artist lead) then to what extent, if any, does this compromise the representational aspect of the work? Does this matter. Looking at Justin’ other work, which seems to be about creating languages or systems or a grammar for other people to digest and then make their own art with, i guess that the artistic decision making is neccesary to try and discover this language.
solid shadow – image 1 (2001)
Finally here’s another print from the crouching pose – which gives an idea of what it would look like if laser cut from transparent perspex – a process I’d like to have a try at if I have time.
More of his work can be seen here