(R)evolutionary Art

January 24, 2022

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Digital Approach to Nature With 3D Scanning and 3D Printing

Yuko Oda is inspired by nature and its processes. Animals and plants seem ordinary at first glance, yet curiosity and observation reveal a universe of complex, intelligent systems. The respect and awe Oda feels for nature, however, is complicated by the realization that humans drastically transformed and polluted it to a point where most of its inhabitants are endangered or extinct. She contemplates this reality in her work with the results capturing contrasting energies of hope and despair.

Exploring the intersection of technology with fine art, she often brings together their methodologies in one artwork, such as installing digital sculptures with organic materials. She responds to the current landscape by investigating the coexistence of nature with the synthetic and the human-engineered.  She also juxtaposes traditional art with unexpected material choices and approaches to break boundaries and explore new aesthetics.

Merging Technology and Nature in Art

Image 1:  “Əvolution” by Yuko Oda merges 3D printed and organic pieces of nature.

“Əvolution” is a digital sculpture installation investigating the co-existence of synthetic and organic nature.  Dew drops made from clear resin lift off the surface of real leaves, molting into amorphous forms that incrementally become leaf-like, depicting a transference of energy from the organic to the synthetic as it replicates and mimics nature.

The workflow of incorporating the fine details of organic objects into this (r)evolutionary piece of art occurred as follows:

Step 1: Digitizing Nature

Image 2: 3D scanning a maple leaf with EinScan

With the help of an EinScan Multifunctional 3D scanner, combined with the Industrial Pack, the fine details of a maple leaf could be captured in great detail.

“I have always loved pushing the limits of 3D technology, creating forms that may be too fragile and intricate with machinery.”

-Yuko Oda

Step 2: Modifying Nature

Image 3: 3D model of the maple leaf in Zbrush

Using Zbrush and Autodesk Maya, the 3D scans were morphed and abstracted to depict incremental changes into droplets placed on top of organic leaves.

Image 4: The droplets displayed in Autodesk Maya

Image 5: 3D printed droplets on organic leaves

Step 3: Reproducing Nature

Image 6: The digital data of the leaf, ready for 3D printing

Image 7: The leaf is 3D printed with clear resin

Image 8: Yuko Oda assembles the artwork at the Boston Sculptors Gallery

The art installation was exhibited in the exhibition “Becoming” at the Boston Sculptors Gallery in January and February, 2021 and at the Hammond Art Gallery in Fitchburg State University in a solo exhibition, “The Heaviness and Lightness of Being” during September-October, 2021.

About Yuko Oda

Yuko Oda’s artwork has been exhibited at SIGGRAPH Asia 2016 (Macao), Dumbo Arts Festival (NY), Calvin-Morris Gallery (NY), Beijing Today Art Museum, Maki Fine Arts (Tokyo), Annemarie Sculpture Garden and Art Center (MD), the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, among others. Oda’s animation, “Take Off” was a finalist in the international animation competition “Artport: Cool Stories for When the Planet Gets Hot”, and screened internationally, including the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York, DIA Center (NY), Art Supermarket (Stockholm), Art Miami Basel (FL), Bridge Art Fair (NY), Diva Art Fair (Paris) and Scope Art Fair (Basel/NY). Oda was an artist resident at the Vermont Studio Center, Chashama North Residency, Goetemann Residency, and Byrdcliffe Artist Residency.

Oda obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree from Rhode Island School of Design and a Bachelor of Arts from Duke University. After living and working as an artist and educator in New York for 15 years, Oda moved to Boston in 2017. She currently teaches in the Art and Design Department at University of Massachusetts Lowell.

You can find more information on Yuko Oda and her artworks on her website www.yukooda.com

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