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Huang & Barnhill: Engineering Seminar & Artists' Talk

Join for a joint artists' talk & Engineering department seminar with Center Art Gallery featured artists, David Barnhill and David Huang. 

This presentation is given in conjunction with Beauty by Design, on view at the Center Art Gallery at Calvin from August 25–November 5, 2021.

Featherweight to Heavyweight: Tools of the Trade

The smallest hammer I own weighs 49 grams, while the heaviest piece of machinery I'm attempting to resurrect weighs 21,000 pounds. Each has their limits. - David Barnhill

David Barnhill and David Huang will show and discuss the tools that they most use to create their work and different processes. Each tool has trade offs. Often, the size of the project depends upon what tools are available. Different tasks require different tools. Simple tools were utilized at first during the beginnings of our collaboration. As the series and work evolved, bigger, more complex tools have been utilized. Everyone wants to work just beyond their personal limits. Sometimes this means seeking out and fixing giant tools. The greatest limiting factor with any tool is just that: it is only as good as the mastery of the craftsman attempting to use it.  

About the Artists: David Barnhill and David Huang have been collaborating for several years on their “Layered Resplendence” series of mokume gane (mixed metal laminate) vessels. In this collaboration, Barnhill fuses the billets and creates wonderful patterns within the sheets of mokume gane. The artistic challenge for Huang is to then study these patterns to find the inspiration suggesting what form the vessel needs to be, and then what chased design will work with all the visual elements to accentuate the whole piece further. In this way, both Barnhill and Huang’s voices combine together with the voice of the metal to create something new, and hopefully wonderful.

Barnhill shares, “I have always enjoyed viewing things close up…surfaces take on a whole new topography. Incredible new details emerge. Everything appears as “hidden” wonders. My work is witness to those hidden worlds working in tandem with my own imagination. I draw my own inspiration mostly from forms and patterns taken from a wide spectrum of biology: diatoms, plankton, invertebrates and insects, as well as from plants, seeds, flowers and pollen.”

Huang shares, “For my part of this collaboration I strive to create works that beg to be held and glow with an inner light. Like most of my solo work, these vessels are about things I treasure; the natural, sensual world, skilled labor, timeless beauty, and the inner spirit made visible.”

To learn more about "Beauty by Design," visit here:

image credit: Simplicity Complexity, David Barnhill. 

This event is supported in part by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.


October 2021
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