The Toronto art-making duo Christian Giroux and Daniel Young (CGDY) have been working in York University’s Digital Sculpture Lab over the past few months as artists-in-residence in the Department of Visual Arts. They will present an overview of their work in a free public lecture titled "The Making of Boole", Wednesday, March 24, at 3pm in 195A Joan & Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts at York’s Keele campus.
During their residency, Young and Giroux have been using the lab’s pioneering rapid prototyping equipment to expand upon their 2008 series Boole, which they created “in a formal dialogue with pieces of IKEA furniture.”
Right: The sculpture "Kermit", featured in Boole, illustrates CGDY’s formal dialogue with pieces of IKEA furniture
Produced using precision-fabricated sheet metal, bringing objects from the domestic realm into collision with an industrial mode of manufacturing, Boole exists in conversation with the spirit of contemporary modernism. The title is derived from the term used to describe the basic 3-D computer modelling operations of addition and subtraction of simple forms in the creation of more complex ones.
The Globe and Mail described the original exhibition of Boole at Toronto’s Diaz Contemporary as “almost lasciviously pleasing and puzzling furniture-like sculptures.” CGDY will present the new additions to their series in a second show at Diaz Contemporary opening April 9.
“The resources in York’s Digital Sculpture Lab are really quite tremendous,” says Young. “Having access to the lab has allowed us to produce a project that otherwise would have been impossible.”
The first of its kind in Canada, York’s lab features a wide range of specialized digital tools and technologies. They include the Torchmate plasma cutter, which can cut metal sheets up to 4 by 8 feet in size, and the FROG Mill 4th Axis which carves 3-D forms out of wood, plastic or foam in formats up to 12 by 8 by 4 feet. Two rapid prototyping 3D printers are used to create small-scale models for art works. The Objet Eden 260V builds models out of resin, rubber or plastic in dimensions up to 12 by 8 by 8 inches, while the Solidscape T612 builds slightly smaller models out of wax (ideal for casting metal).
These production technologies are complemented by the FROG Mill 3-D Scanner, which can be used to scan existing objects to create virtual/digital copies that can subsequently be remade using one of the four manufacturing processes available in the lab. The artist can also adapt these scanned objects, or circumvent scanning and create completely new objects to be cut, carved or printed.
“One of the primary goals of York’s Digital Sculpture Lab is to make cutting-edge digital fabrication technology accessible to both students and leading Canadian artists and researchers,” says Visual Arts Professor Brandon Vickerd, who was awarded a major grant by the Canada Foundation for Innovation in 2005 to create the lab. “By hosting their residency we’re providing CGDY with the opportunity to advance their practice in a unique way, and at the same time, giving students the opportunity to learn by observing the process of professional artists.”
CGDY have been creating sculpture, public art and film installations together since 2002. Their work has been shown at SCOPE Miami Beach (2004), Ace Art Inc. (Winnipeg, 2004), The Power Plant (Toronto, 2006), the EXiS festival (Seoul, 2009) and the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (2009). Following its recent premiere at Toronto’s Mercer Union, their film installation 50 Light Fixtures from Home Depot was exhibited in Forum Expanded at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2010 and will be shown this fall at the Beyond/In Western New York exhibit at the Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center in Buffalo.
Giroux and Young are just the latest in a long line of artists to hold residencies in York’s sculpture program. Previous guests include Britain’s Anthony Caro and William Tucker, American sculptor Rona Pondick, and leading Canadian artists Liz Magor, Claire Brunet and James Carl.