Nathan Sharratt Art

Distillation Of Complex Ideas Into Manageable Chunks, 2014. Walthall Fellowship exhibition at City of Atlanta's Gallery 72.

Distillation Of Complex Ideas Into Manageable Chunks, Model 1792, 2014, is a life-sized 3D-printed plastic guillotine in CMYK colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black). The design is a replica of the original 1792 guillotine that executed King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and countless others during the French Revolution's Reign of Terror.

 

The sculpture's height is variable, and scales to fit within the exhibition space. In this case, the ceiling of the gallery is 11 feet, so the sculpture is sliced off from the bottom up to lower its original height of approximately 13 feet to about 10 feet. This releases the sculpture from the reality of physical restrictions (the original guillotines were not uniform in size) while conceptually reinforcing confirmation bias.

The color scheme is taken from the four primary ink colors (CMYK: cyan, magenta, yellow and black) used in most process-printed media including magazines, newspapers and advertisements. I worked in the magazine and commercial art industry in New York City for ten years. 3D printing the guillotine in these colors represents the shift from the old guard of printed media dominance to the new paradigm of digital information dissemination.

These lenticular paintings change states depending on your physical point of view. "I Will (,) Tomorrow" hides or reveals a simple comma, changing the tone from one of abdication (I'll do it tomorrow) to one of agency (I will tomorrow into existence).

"From Dusk (Don) Till Dawn (Doff)" refers to the immortality of the condemned's last night on Earth. In 19th century France it was believed to be more humane to not tell the prisoner the date of their execution, but they knew it was always at dawn. This meant that each night could be their last, but until they awoke they could live forever. Kind of like vampires.

"I Wanna Do Bad Things With (To) You" is a reference to the title song of a popular HBO vampire drama, True Blood. I threw a 3D-printed gun at it and chipped the lens.

High-tech basket weaving for the 1%, grounded in a solid brand foundation.

The Sentinels keep watch over our techno-social collaboration. Each model was 3D scanned using a hacked Xbox Kinect laying prone with their head over the edge of a table with their hands clasped behind their back, smiling uncomfortably for the minutes-long process. The heads were then impaled upon heated steel spikes at the exact hight of the model, who then was able to confront the digital abstraction of their selfhood.

Distillation Of Complex Ideas Into Manageable Chunks, Model 1792, 2014, is a life-sized 3D-printed plastic guillotine in CMYK colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black). The design is a replica of the original 1792 guillotine that executed King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and countless others during the French Revolution's Reign of Terror. The sculpture's height is variable, and scales to fit within the exhibition space. In this case, the ceiling of the gallery is 11 feet, so the sculpture is sliced off from the bottom up to lower its original height of approximately 13 feet to about 10 feet. This releases the sculpture from the reality of physical restrictions (the original guillotines were not uniform in size) while conceptually reinforcing confirmation bias. The color scheme is taken from the four primary ink colors used in most process-printed media including magazines, newspapers and advertisements. I worked in the magazine and commercial art industry in New York City for ten years. 3D printing the guillotine in these colors represents the shift from the old guard of printed media dominance to the new paradigm of digital information dissemination. The guillotine is printed in interlocking parts on a consumer-grade 3D printer (which I built) and are assembled together into the final form much like my favorite toy, LEGO bricks. The seams are visibly welded with a handheld plastic-extruding 3D-printing pen to call attention to the limitations of this technology and to exemplify the current state of 3D printing, which is imperfect and inconsistent. It is important to me to not only manipulate the input systems through 3D modeling and scanning, but also the output systems--the actual objects the printer produces. Often, artists put all of their ideas into only the input, and consequently the objects become empty vessels that may as well have been sculpted or cast traditionally. I want to accept the process and material for what it is, and allow for its unique characteristics.

At the guillotine's head are three sculptures of abstracted baskets, Birth: That’s Not What I Intended, 2014, Comfort: I Didn’t Mean For This To Happen, 2014, and Death: It’s Not My Fault, 2014. The baskets are not assigned a particular title by me; viewers are allowed to apply their own interpretations and assign names as they prefer based on whatever criteria they choose to apply. The baskets are built freehand using a 3D-printing pen layer by layer in the same process as the computerized 3D printer, only with me as the computer. The only preconceived design idea is that they each start with a base that is my signature cartouche: a square with a diagonal line through it, which represents my initials N and S overlaid on top of each other. As they grow over the course of several months the forms begin to represent my anxieties. The black basket stands tallest with four petals on top, frozen in the act of opening or closing. I began thinking of the movie Alien, and the egg pods that hold the xenomorph's reproductive process: a crab-like creature that bursts forth when it senses movement from an appropriate potential host, latches onto another being's face, and impregnates them with a xenomorph embryo. After several days with the host in a comatose state, the impregnator releases the host and dies. The host then regains normal function until the gestation period ends, and the xenomorph alien is born bursting through the host's chest, killing the host. Birth and death are confused and joined by a stasis period of oblivious comfort while the embryo gestates. This is my interpretation of the evolution of personal agency.

On the wall are three lenticular paintings. Lenticular lenses allow an image to change states based on where the viewer is standing in relation to the lens. Though these are technically two dimensional, I consider them installation due to the necessity of bodily movement to fully experience them. Each painting has two states that blend into each other and are never able to be seen fully without the other state bleeding into view. I Will (,) Tomorrow, 2014, is a struggle between opposing states of agency. "I Will Tomorrow" forces the existence of another day through sheer force of will, while, "I Will, Tomorrow" procrastinates another day. From Dusk (Don) Till Dawn (Doff), 2014, recalls the Tarantino/Rodriguez vampire movie of the mid 1990s, and transitions to anachronistic language referencing the putting on or taking off of something, usually upon a head. Dawn was also when prisoners were rousted from their sleep to be taken to the guillotine. The French government considered it more humane to not inform the condemned as to the date of their execution, so each night prisoners went to sleep not knowing if it would be their last. I Wanna Do Bad Things With (To) You, 2014, again references the vampire myth as a variation of the phrase appears as a lyric in the television series True Blood's theme song. The ghosting of text and shifting gradients between states speaks to the eradication of black and white morality. Ideas and tools can be for the benefit or the detriment of society, but most often lie somewhere on the gray scale.

Outside are the Sentinels: Sentinel Series No. 1: I Will Never, 2014, Sentinel Series No. 2: For The Good Of The People, 2014, and Sentinel Series No. 4: The Right Of The People To Peaceably Assemble, 2014. 3D-printed plastic heads are created in CMYK colors, impaled on steel spikes. Each head is placed at the same height as the model who posed for the 3D scanner, and function as performative displays of justice akin to the auto de fe. The models were scanned with an Xbox Kinect sensor while they laid horizontally over the edge of a table in the same position as if they were on the guillotine's bascule plank, about to be executed. I asked each of them to smile during the process to represent the way we as individuals and as collective society often go willingly to our doom (preferencing short-term comfort and reward while sacrificing long-term security). The Sentinel title references not only that of a guard and watcher, but was also a popular American newspaper title during the 1790s and beyond (sometimes spelled Centinel). The subtitles are often patriotic to confront the ideological sources of American Dreaming.

Only a year before the guillotine was invented America ratified the fourth article of the bill of rights, now known as the second amendment to the constitution, which reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." The second amendment began in one social state as a benefit to society when we had no standing army and the threat of outside governmental takeover was very real, and evolved into the fantasy-based gun culture we have today. In 2010 the first widely-available and open-source 3D-printed gun was released on the internet, called the Liberator. Aside from the metal bullet, a metal roofing nail as firing pin, and a block of metal to comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act, the entire gun is 3D printed. I downloaded the files and printed a gun myself, in CMYK colors. It freaked me out and started me thinking about technological responsibility. I began to research the subject and made the connection to how the guillotine was created as an egalitarian benefit to society (so that all condemned criminals, regardless of wealth or class, could receive the most humane death possible), and was then co-opted by revolutionists as a murder factory. Historical examples abound where a tool or idea was created for a beneficial purpose, but was then used against the creator's original intention. Einstein's theory of general relativity, a great benefit to science and society, also led to the atomic bomb. So too, do I consider the implications of 3D printing and consumer-level production. It's an amazing technology with almost limitless potential in black, white and gray.


Titles:

Guillotine:


Nathan Sharratt

American, Hermosa Beach, CA, 1978

Distillation Of Complex Ideas Into Manageable Chunks, Model 1792, 2014

3D-Printed PLA plastic, adhesive, aluminum, steel

$15,000

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30x40” Lenticular Paintings:


From Dusk (Don) Till Dawn (Doff), 2014

I Will (,) Tomorrow, 2014

I Wanna Do Bad Things With (To) You, 2014

Lenticular lens on digital print

$3,000 each

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Woven Plastic Baskets:


Birth: That’s Not What I Intended, 2014

Comfort: I Didn’t Mean For This To Happen, 2014

Death: It’s Not My Fault, 2014

Hand-extruded ABS plastic

$2,000 each

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Heads on spikes (outside):


Sentinel Series No. 1: I Will Never, 2014

Sentinel Series No. 2: For The Good Of The People, 2014

Sentinel Series No. 4: The Right Of The People To Peaceably Assemble, 2014

3D-printed PLA plastic, adhesive, steel

$3,000 each

Using Format