Coming out of London and exhibiting in the Zhulong Gallery in Dallas, Texas, Matthew Plummer-Fernandez is taking color 3D printing to a whole new level. Earlier this month I published an article on glitch art, and the modern fascination of technologically altering objects without a specific end form in mind. Matthew’s new exhibition, Color Gamut, with Anne Katrine Senstad, reflected on color, light, forms, and vitality. One of the highlights of the installations is Matthew’s sculptures on top of programmed monitors; he stated that although there is no importance in the images on the screen past them changing the colours of the sculptures resting on top of them. As always, Zhulong Gallery goes beyond great art and into exhibitions that leave the viewer pondering the nature of today’s art and new processes of creating it. In addition to sculpture, Matthew has a large catalogue of possible forms and shapes, sometimes they are whimsical like the glitch Mickey Mouse, sometimes they are completely detached from this world. We were lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with Matthew about his history, processes, and relationship between technology and art.
Your pieces are in the forefront of 3D printing, what’s your process to create your work? With your background in engineering, how is it looking at art and the artistic process?
I 3D scan objects, and exacerbate the digital corruption the object undergoes by processing it further through my own software, and then I 3D print the results. My background informs my art practice, it provides me with a new toolset for producing art, but it also gives me a context to work with, that of the social-technical world we currently live in. My art examines that world.
What printer do you use, and how did you start working with printing in color?
It is a zcorp color printer primarily designed for making 3D representations of ideas for products. I like that the material is not in anyway functional other than for representation. It’s a manufacturing process for transient ideas and vapourware. That translates to the intentions of sculpture very well in my opinion.
How do you choose the objects you scan? Anything you would like to explore further in the context of forms and concepts?
I wanted to blur the mundane with the fantastical, so I purposely picked some of the most mundane, everyday objects I could find around my house – detergent bottles, a watering can, and so on.
The various pieces in this exhibition range from crude to fluid forms. What inspired you to transition from one form to the other?
This particular range of objects dates back from when I first tested my process, and I wanted a wide range of results to learn from. There are some forms I wouldn’t return too, but at the time it was necessary to document the variability of the process.
When creating, do you have a shape in mind when running code and modifying the scans, or is the final product something you randomly come across?
I never start a piece with a certain shape in mind, I proceed to destroy a scan, and in the process I find shapes I could have never have anticipated.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? Is there a specific process you go through to get into the mindset of creating art?
I draw inspiration from anecdotes, I like stories, especially stories like that of Jorge Luis Borges that blur fiction with reality. Blogging also really helps feed my creativity, it forces me to fully absorb and give thought to the things I’m interested in. The mind-set for creating art is hard to force, some days it is just there and the ideas pour out.
Glitch art is attracting a lot of attention in the digital world, and you almost seem to make the concepts of glitch art tangible using scanning and 3D printing. How do you see this developing? Do you think it will have an impact on the art world in the future?
Glitch has potential, it opens up new aesthetic ideas and it also communicates the fragility of technology and media. I think that corruptible state of what we take for granted is true for all social-technical activities, and art should expose that instability.
What’s next for y0u? Do you have any upcoming shows or exhibitions?
I’ll be talking at FutureEverything in Manchester at the end of the month, and then March until May I’ll be artist in residence at the Whitebuilding in Hackney, London.