Luminore iron on Fiberglas over Styrofoam with steel tube armature
Born in 1960, Kansas City, KS
Lives and works in North Bergen, NJ
Michael Rees describes himself as a new media sculptor. His outdoor sculpture, Putto 4 over 4, was created using multiple new technologies to both manufacture and give meaning to the work. The process for this sculpture started with an original computer model, designed with a variety of sophisticated software: Cinema 4D™, Maya® 3D and Studio Max®. The resulting shape reflects Rees’ fascination with human body parts that have been detached and repurposed. In this case four pair of pudgy baby legs, like the limbs of Renaissance putti (winged cherubs), and four fingers are connected along a sausage-like body without a head or any other anatomical features. Rees then collaborated with an animator, Seong Joon Lee, to make the 3D model move. According to the artist, “the model became the instruction for the animation.” The 3D model was built in Cinema 4D™ and then rendered in Maya® 3D.
It is in the animation where the meaning of the work becomes clear. In a still moment the object can be seen as a collaged individual, but in the animation each end of chubby appendages seems to operate with its own intelligence, and must cooperate with the other end in order to move along. The creature seems to be internally solving a complex collaborative problem of locomotion, which results in a flipping movement that refers more to multi-figure acrobatics than to the smoothly organic movement of an individual being.
At this point, Rees isolated a three-dimensional snapshot moment from this animation and made it into an object. He exported the moment as an .obj file and fine-tuned it using different engineering software. Large-scale objects were output as milled foam, using Computer Numerical Control (CNC). The foam parts were then shipped to New York, where they were glued together and coated with fiberglass resin. The surface of the sculpture was sanded smooth, and primed with a special epoxy. Finally, an iron surface was sprayed on the sculpture like paint. Stronger than regular paint, this product contains actual iron particles, which also allows for the sculpture’s rusting patina.