DMA Exhibits Work by UTA Studios Planes of sewing thread, a panel of drinking straws, pillows of concrete, and 3-D tiles of laser cut paper – materials used out of context to challenge ordinary associations – form the basis of two walls created by students at UT Arlington’s School of Architecture for the inaugural exhibition in the Center for Creative Connections at the Dallas Museum of Art. “Materials and Meanings” emphasizes the materials of which works of art are made and addresses the meanings both artists and viewers associate with these materials. Eight artworks from the DMA’s collection, which form the core of the exhibition, are made of materials ranging from the everyday to the sacred, from cardboard to gold. The DMA invited UTA to create the first community partner response to “Materials and Meanings”. The two UTA walls subdivide the space of one gallery and comment on the role materials play in architecture and interior design. The pieces were produced as studio projects in the Interior Design and Digital Fabrication studios during the Spring 2008 semester. The Interior Design studio – under the guidance of instructors Elfriede Foster; Susan Appleton, AIA; and Marian Millican – “appropriated” products such as sewing thread, binder clips, and rubber bands to construct panels that hang in an open framework. These panels – through translucency, opacity, color, or texture – create a dialogue between the adjacent spaces. They
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plays. The wall in the foreground displays work from the UTA Interior Design Studio, with the wall in the background representing surfaces created in the UTA Digital Fabrication Studio. A detail of the paper tile screen illustrates the complexity of the material. The paper tile serves as a backdrop to a Gehry chair.
also engage the visitor in physical exploration— touching the panels is encouraged. The Digital Fabrication screen, developed in the studio of Brad Bell, presents two different sides: one composed of cast concrete tiles and interactive motion sensor lights; the other of a paper tile backdrop for one of the DMA artworks, Frank Gehry’s Easy Edges chair. In each side, digital modeling and laser cutting allowed the creation of a complex tile surface in which none of 144 tiles are alike. For the concrete tiles, nonEuclidean geometry and scripting programs were employed to design formwork for fabric casting,
giving the concrete a seemingly soft surface. For the paper tiles, Voronoi script software produced bubble-shape cutouts that were manipulated in scale through four layers of paper to create complex three-dimensional spatial patterns, giving the paper a brittle appearance. Both walls invite the public to consider the contributions that materials and processes make in the built environment. S u s a n
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“Materials and Meanings” remains on display at the DMA through October.
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Top left photo by Marta Swaffer; all others courtesy Dallas Museum of Art
(clockwise from top left) Interior Design students appropriated hex nuts and copper wire to fashion one of the dis-