Natalie and James Thompson Gallery
G-Code is My Love Language
November 7, 2023 - February 16, 2024
The Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery is delighted to present G-Code is My Love Language, which opens on Tuesday November 7, 2023 and will run through February 16, 2024. This exhibition features works by Michael Eden, Alvin Huang, Jolie Ngo and Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello of Emerging Objects, and focuses on how these artists and designers employ 3-d printing techniques and technologies to create work that is visually striking, innovative and pushes the boundaries of the field of additive manufacturing.
G-code, or Geometric Code, is a most widely used CNC Machining and 3D printing programming language. Used mainly in computer-aided manufacturing, G-Code control automated machine tools, as well as for 3D-printer slicer applications. While the artists and designers featured in this exhibition share their use of G-Code with a wide range of practitioners, their unique, individual styles of art-making influence their approaches to utilizing this programming language and result in works that push the boundaries of 3D printing as an art medium.
Artwork by Michael Eden, Curved Blue Bloom (2015). Courtesy of Adrian Sassoon Gallery. Photo by Galen Ducey.
Michael Eden’s work sits at the intersection of craft, design and art, exploring contemporary themes through the redesign of historical, culturally familiar objects utilizing digital manufacturing and materials. His work is exhibited internationally and has been acquired by international collectors and Art Galleries, including LACMA, MFA Boston and the Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design, New York. Eden is Represented by Adrian Sassoon, London.
As Eden explains, “the making of pottery vessels can be traced back to the earliest days of humankind. From prehistory through to the modern day they have been used for both functional and symbolic purposes. They tell the stories of all peoples, whether charting the development of agriculture or our beliefs. Throughout this time there have been continuous technological and artistic developments and my work persists in this tradition; exploring new materials and ways of making as a means of bringing the past into the present and shining a light on the world in which we live today.”
Artwork by Synthesis Design + Architecture - Alvin Huang, Ariel Padilla, Mo Harmon, Kagome Vase (2023). Photo by Galen Ducey.
Alvin Huang, AIA, NOMA is a Los Angeles-based architect with a global profile. He is an award-winning architect, designer, and educator who explores the intersections between technology and culture to produce innovative design work that challenges convention and expresses universal values. He is a vocal advocate for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in design culture. His work spans all scales ranging from hi-rise towers and mixed-use developments to temporary pavilions and bespoke furnishings. He is the founder and principal of Synthesis Design + Architecture and an Associate Professor at the University of Southern California, where he is also the Director of Graduate and Post-professional Architecture.
Artwork by Jolie Ngo, 3Leg Vessel in Two Right Feet, a unique 3-legged vessel in porcelain, glaze, luster, and PVA plastic, 2022. Courtesy of R & Company. Photo by Galen Ducey.
Jolie Ngo is a ceramic artist who expands the potential of the vessel form by creating vibrant, “cyborgian” objects that acknowledge past ceramic traditions while advancing forward-thinking practices. In her own words: “I want to show the ceramic vessel as a future-form that can still hold memories of the past.” Maintaining a sense of tactility, intimacy and sensitivity often achieved in traditional handworks is paramount to Ngo’s practice. She utilizes contemporary technologies such as clay 3D printing and rapid prototyping to create her forms before, in the words of Ngo, “lovingly dressing them” with hand-painted geometric pattern and hazy gradients, as well as affixing embellishments. This interplay of the machine and the artist’s hand results in objects that resist traditional formal definition.
Born and raised in and outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jolie Ngo holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.
Cotton Candy Dishes (2018) by Emerging Objects. Photo by Galen Ducey
For the last 15 years, Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello of Emerging Objects have attempted to rethink the art and practice of designing and constructing objects, interiors, and buildings using additive manufacturing. Their desire for an ecological focus within their practice comes from their indigenous and traditional knowledge base and not from contemporary trends in the profession. Their education is rooted in the belief that design has a social responsibility first and foremost, and with that is aligned beauty. They recognize that clients do not hire designers to make political or ethical statements, so, therefore, they have reframed their version of practice so that it is not service-oriented, but instead, research and development-oriented. Their 3D printing research and projects have positioned them as leaders in the space of additive manufacturing, their common thread is a quest for democracy in design and the belief that designers are activists and agents of change, and rather than the cliché, “less is more”, which suggests that a minimalist approach to aesthetic matters is more effective, they take the approach that one can do more, with less — aligning themselves with the condition of the underdog who has more capacity for inventiveness and ingenuity.
In addition to existing works loaned by the artists in this exhibition, each artist was invited to produce a new original piece DeSimone Laboratory at Stanford University utilizing Carbon 3D technology. Based in Redwood City, California, Carbon is a developer of 3D printers, materials, and software.The Carbon3D process works by using Digital Light Projection and oxygen-permeable optics to cure polymer resins into parts. This technology uses ultraviolet-sensitive resin using lights instead of printing one layer of the filament at a time, which for the artists in this exhibition allowed for the creation of unique lattice structures and design. The works produced at the DeSimone Lab, illustrate not only the new capabilities of 3D printing, but a unique collaboration and interaction between scientists and engineers and artists and designers whose work pushes the boundaries of advanced additive technologies and creatively explores the possibilities of advanced polymer 3D fabrication methods.
We would like to thank Joseph M. DeSimone, Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professor of Translational Medicine and Chemical Engineering at Stanford University and Gabriel Lipkowitz, PhD candidate at Stanford University in Mechanical Engineering and Fabrication Lead for this project for their generosity, time, and dedication to this project. Our thanks to Kathleen Slater and staff of Adrian Sassoon (London) and Kaela Walker and staff of R & Company (New York, New York) for their help facilitating the loans of the works of Michael Eden and Jolie Ngo, respectively. Thank you to Alvin Huang and Ronald Rael & Virginia San Fratello for the loan of their own works. We would also like to thank Derick Truong of the H&A Marketing Team at SJSU and Philip Krayna, Senior Lecturer, Department of Design at SJSU as well as students: Kritsaran Hanamonset, Joseph Shin and Madelaina Rodrigues for their contribution of innovative graphic designs for this exhibition.
Alena Sauzade, PhD
Gallery Director and Collections Manager
Virginia San Fratello
Chair of the Department of Design in the College of Humanities & Arts