An international artist has arrived in Burnie to pioneer a unique paper project that will bring fallen trees to life.
Associate Professor John (Jack) Elliott, a Canadian artist who teaches Design at Cornell University in New York, was selected as the 2017 University of Tasmania Cradle Coast campus Artist in Residence earlier this year.
Since commencing his three-week project, Associate Professor Elliott has used laser and photogrammetry technology to create digital scans that document the remains of iconic trees in the region, felled for the purposes of making paper.
Once home, he will produce 3D-printed models of the trees to form the basis of a unique exhibition to be presented by the University of Tasmania in 2018.
“My aesthetic world is that of the tree, and the relationship between trees and people, so when I heard about the residency in Tasmania I thought it was a great opportunity to create work that also aligned with my interests,” Professor Elliott said.
“The theme of this project is ‘paper’, which speaks to the history of Burnie’s paper industry and its reputation as a City of Makers. Through this residency I also want to begin a dialogue about how local tall trees have been cut down to make this product.
“I’ll be using a special 3D printer that recreates scale models of each tree stump by layering and fusing together sheets of paper, then tracing and slicing them to leave a solid object that feels like wood, but is sustainable and renewable, unlike most 3D printing media.
“The leading piece of work will be a recreation of a eucalyptus tree located on campus which I estimate to be 150 years old, and it’s been fascinating to strip away the bark to reveal its stunning sculptural properties underneath, its smooth texture and curvaceous form.”
University of Tasmania Arts and Public Programs Coordinator Joanna Gair said the selection panel had been impressed with the combination of local relevance, skill and new media represented by Associate Professor Elliott’s project.
“It has been thoroughly engaging to watch Jack reveal the tree in the University grounds, and we are looking forward to the translation of this as part of the digital and physical archive he is creating,” Ms Gair said.
The Cradle Coast campus Arts Residency has been offered annually since 2011, developed to provide local, interstate and international artists with an opportunity to create work of direct relevance to Tasmania’s North-West.
Applications for 2018 projects will open on Monday, 2 October, 2017.
To apply, contact Arts and Public Programs Coordinator Joanna Gair: Joanna.Gair@utas.edu.au