Gary Voss

Plastic Exteriors

For the last three years, Gary Voss has have been working with engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Stout to model forms using a computer and then fabricate those forms in ABSi plastic. The simple exteriors seen in his work were created in basic AutoCAD and the forms were then three-dimensionalized in a Stratasys rapid prototype machine using fused deposition modeling. This rapid prototyping technique was originally developed to allow industrial designers to physically check a computer designed part prior to going into full scale production, such as in the automobile and aerospace industries. Today, many manufacturers are producing finished parts using a myriad of new prototyped materials, owning to their strength and durability.

The ABSi plastic he’s used is actually the most transparent of the ABS family of plastics and was originally developed for use in the medical field. Intended to be built ahead of time, based on scans of a patient’s bones, a technician could easily carve away any discrepancies right in the surgical theater, immediately prior to replacing a damaged bone or joint.

Although it is possible to create a form with little, if any, surface faceting, Gary has intentionally used this as refined surface design, working with the geometry of the form and the machine limitations in structural build to enhance again the notions of historical pottery within this new technological setting.

Encaustic is one of the oldest techniques in painting. Invented by the ancient Greeks; the painter Pausias (4th century BC) was reputed to have been a master of this process. Among the earliest existing encaustic paintings are Egyptian mummy portraits dating from the 1st to the 3d century AD. Combining pigment with a hot wax binder, the paint is heated after application to fuse successive layers together. Coming from the Greek word enkaustikos, this “burning in” process is what gave the technique its name.

Gary elected to employ encaustic media in his sculpture much as a sculptor might use victory brown wax for bronze casting:  pouring the hot wax in molds, then manipulating and constructing the various shapes and forms. The predominant straw-like color comes not from wax pigments, but from the encaustic media itself, which is created by mixing pure refined beeswax with damar crystals. The result is a wax that exhibits properties of thin plastic: strong, yet somewhat flexible at room temperatures. In these works, encaustic paints were applied primarily as washes to the backside of the thin media surface, layering in reverse order to create more translucency and depth. Colored silks are also embedded behind the paints to intensify color saturation.

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