Elinor Slomba

3D Printing Collab Produces Art in Four Dimensions

TRANSLUCENCE: Capturing the Sun – Don’t Miss Q&A at WineDown 8/10!


If you’ve been more cooped up this summer than you had hoped, or simply wanting a little extra sparkle, unwind with a glass of wine and some late afternoon sunshine as Grove members Jack Heslin and Kris Tonski discuss their collaboration TRANSLUCENCE: Catching the Sun on Wednesday, August 10 at 4:30pm. This free Q&A will be held on the 2nd floor of 760 Chapel St. It is open to the public.


As any tour through Yale University Art Gallery reminds us, from Vincent Van Gogh to Edward Hopper, artists have long gravitated towards exploring the properties of light as it animates form. In the Grove’s front window, studying the play of light on form at the street-level adds an additional and exciting visual element: the passage of time.


In an informal group discussion, we will learn how a desktop digital 3D printing process was conceived as the building block for a sculptural artwork that subtly changes at different times of day. The natural translucence of polymers currently used in 3D printing plus the elegance of simple forms designed in readily-available 3D design software (CAD) brings the essence of summer right down into the cityscape.



The composition of diamond-shaped elements arranged into larger, connected diamonds is somewhat reminiscent of an abstract stained glass window. Yet the subtle curves of each modular component make for surprising variation as reflections dance across surfaces designed to capture the sun.


As the morning or afternoon rays cut across Chapel Street, the three-dimensional work activates the dimension of time. Mirrored in the community’s constant comings and goings, this kind of dynamism provides more to appreciate for a co-working space than a static work of art might.


According to Heslin, “The shapes were printed on a MakerBot 5th Generation 3D Printer using variously colored translucent material, known as MakerBot PLA, which is largely composed of corn starch. Even the connecting parts are made of PLA and printed in the natural and white-colored filament.”


Tonski continues, “In creating this installation, we had to account for the relatively small scale of the output of the printer. The process is generally used for prototyping, and therefore uses slower output times than full manufacturing processes.”


Undaunted, the collaborators worked through this creative constraint. The tile-like units that make up TRANSLUCENCE have the advantage of being easy to install and to transport, and could be artfully (re)arranged in any number of customized settings.


At the Winedown Q&A, you can hear directly from Heslin, owner of J3D Services, about this process, which took 70 hours of total print time (approximately 2 hours per tile.) Tonski, who owns Fusion Design, will also be present and can speak to the design process, which took many iterations.  In this way, too, the passage of time – the fourth dimension – is embedded in their installation.


Additional photographs, press kit and interviews with these collaborators may be requested by emailing Kris Tonski at kris@fusionprintdesign.com or Jack Heslin at jack@j3dservices.com.  Inquiries about The Grove Gallery and its various programs may be directed to Elinor Slomba at artsinterstices@gmail.com.

“Connectivity” Connects

As the installation “Connectivity” by R.W.R collaborative gets dismantled from the front window at 760 Chapel Street, a new installation inspired by its precepts prepares for installation.


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The R.W.R. collaborative  is comprised of three Connecticut based artists who work with light, new media and sculpture. Sarah Rohfling brings her expertise in light art, her ability to use tones, hues and shadows. Terrance Regan provides a background in video and new media to engage and challenge viewers.  Brian Walters adds a sculptural dimensionality by using salvaged materials.


On May 25, Brian joined the Grove at its weekly Wine Down for a relaxed and engaging Q&A session. Those who attended opened up with curiosity and enthusiasm about the concept of connectivity and how it animates their experience of co-working.  Jack Heslin of J3D brought some objects he had spent the day 3D printing in a simple plastic called PLA, and a white portrait bust pictured below made from white copier paper on an MCor Iris 3D Printer. The event wrapped up with a mini field-trip downstairs to view the installation, led by Kris Tonski, owner of Fusion Design (pictured with Walters and artwork from another exhibition, Doors of Perception, in background).


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Outside you could see bunches of coiled, multicolored wires and two monitors set up side by side through the front window. A series of images rotated on a 30-second loop, pairing bold words like “HITCH” with familiar images from television and film (e.g. the Simpsons and Caddy Shack) decontextualized to enable multiple readings and layered associations.


“Artists are often trying to compel you to look at things you’ve seen before in a brand new way,” says Elinor Slomba, who curates the Grove Gallery and manages the installations. “When that works, as it does here, the art leverages a sense of purpose within a community” she said, speaking of the R.W.R. collaborative’s work. “Sarah, Terrance and Brian not only brought a glimpse of what goes on in our space to the street-level public, but got coworkers co-dreaming about how they can contribute their own visual explorations.”


Some of those dreams will become actualized when Tonski and Heslin team up next to install an assemblage of 3D-printed original designs in the front window space. The environment they create will become more subtly complex each week as newly-printed objects in various colors are added.


The pair will begin installing their new artwork after July 1st with guidance and assistance from Christina Kane, the Grove’s Director of Culture.  So “Connectivity” continues even as it passes the torch to the next set of collaborators.  Well done, R.W.R. collaborative, well done!