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Collaboration with Bennington Museum: 3D Digital

Co-organized by faculty member Jon Isherwood and Bennington Museum curator Jamie Franklin, 3D Digital: Here and Now is a collaboration between Bennington College and the Bennington Museum that highlights artists, designers, and manufacturers whose work exploits the potential of new technologies to push material practice. The exhibition runs through June 15.

The phenomenon of 3D digital design and fabrication in the Bennington area has been driven by a number of factors: the role of Bennington College in training students and initiating projects through its research and curriculum; the long-standing history of manufacturing in the region and the more recent development of small-scaled shops doing highly specialized work; and the strong regional arts community, anchored by the Bennington Museum.

The reciprocal influence of artists, designers, and manufacturers has expanded Bennington’s capacity to be a center of innovation in the field. The intersection of advanced practitioners in artmaking, design, engineering, and materials has resulted in projects ranging from a sculpture for the United States Embassy in Oslo, Norway, to the Z® chair by Giovanni Pagnotta, an icon of contemporary design.

A number of the featured artists, architects, and designers who started their work in Bennington have gone on to create innovative forms elsewhere, including Guvenc Özel ’02, who created NASA 3D Printed Habitat (housing on Mars) in collaboration with experts from UCLA Department of Engineering and Material Science. This competition entry for NASA and AmericaMakes 3D Printed Habitat challenge was among the top honored in more than 160 international entries. 

In Stranger Visions, Heather Dewey-Hagborg ’03 creates unsettling, lifelike portraits of anonymous strangers from discarded DNA found in the streets and subways of New York. She uses custom software and a 3D printer to generate masks from the everyday evidence people leave behind. 

Form meets function in the original furniture designs and fabrications by two other alumni, Megan Farnham ’14 and Lieb Mathieson ’15. 

In addition to Isherwood's solo sculpture, the exhibition includes pieces he developed in collaboration with CAPA director Susan Sgorbati, staff members Keegan Ead and Michael Stradley, and students in their Art in the Public Realm class: Hannah Brookman ’16, Emily Coning ’16, Onur Fidangul ’17, Mitra Haque ’17, Timna Jahoda Kligler ’16, and Sarah Shames ’17. An acrylic, laser-cut medallion made by Isherwood and sculpture technician John Umphlett MFA ’99 for the inauguration of Bennington College's president is also on view.

The show also includes solo works by Stradley and Umphlett, as well as Isabella Poulos ’18 and Harlan Steed ’16, and former and visiting faculty members Willard Boepple and Karolina Kawiaka.

One goal of the exhibition is to inspire more young entrepreneurs to put down roots in Bennington and to advance economic development in the region. 

Chestnut, a 3D printed prototype created in a class/start-up led by faculty members Andrew Cencini and Robert Ransick, features custom beacon electronics and contributions by: Rohail Altaf ’17, Eli Back ’16, Chris Bussolini ’16, Wesley Evans ’15, Robin Hrynyszyn ’15, Haley McGough ’15, Jonah Nigro ’16, Sarah Shames ’17, and Trevor Stannus ’16.

Among the specialty manufacturing firms included in the show are Nahanco, Plasan NA, and Kaman Composites. To celebrate the opening, the Museum is hosting a Spring Party on Friday, April 1, 7:00 pm; call 802-447-1571 for information.