I’ve been working in 3d design, reconnecting with my architecture and I designed this concept for a Hash Symbol monument. Designing this has been a healing experience for me. I’ve been in great pain. I had a serious episode of a slipped pelvis (a complication that happens to me periodically) and was laid up in bed for many days. I used this time to think about art and what I would do next when I could get up and sit again. Having designed a 3d printed sculpture of a hash symbol, with elements making it accessible for the visually impaired for an upcoming exhibition W/O Limits at the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve, I began to formulate in my mind this concept for a Hash symbol monument. As I was confined mostly to bed for a week, the details came into focus and when I was able to get back to the computer, I had everything I needed to get to work and create it in 3d with two 3d programs; MOI for the 3d modeling and BLENDER for the rendering
I see it as a symbol of empowerment in our modern world of social media. It’s surrounded by 4 reflecting pools. They’re not really pools as they are only 2″ deep and would have spray fountains in them to be a cooling area to play in on super hot days; a kind of oasis in the time of climate change. The monument is elevated 18″ so that the pools are elevated. The edges at the perimeter have an infinity edge and the water would gently flow down into a channel and be pumped back, cycling the water. Gently sloping paths on axis with the openings of the hash symbols on four sides lead to a plaza where the monument rests. The plaza paving at the edge of the water is tactile for the visually impaired. The material is textured polished stainless steel. Its polished reflectivity would reflect the water and as the sun makes its arc during the day, it will continually transform as the light changes. A characteristic of the shape of the hash symbol is that it has two horizontal bars intersecting two slanted vertical bars. So that each of the sides and the top of the monument has slanted vertical bars, it is tilted 7 degrees in two directions.
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I’m honored to be one of several artists to be in the upcoming show in December “W/O Limits: Art, Chronic Illness, & Disability” exhibition curated by Megan Alves and Mindy Tousley of the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve. The Artists Archives has been awarded a grant from the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities where the organization will be able to incorporate strategies to increase accessibility with among others the use of braille and a 3d printed tactile sculpture for the visually impaired.
Megan asked if I would be interested in doing the 3d printed sculpture and I accepted, excited with the anticipation of revisiting shifting into 3 dimensions and also working again with Think[Box] at Case Western Reserve University. I had worked with Think[box] in 2015 where I printed 2 sculptures I call MODEL CITIZENS.
For the W/O LIMITS exhibition, In progress is a 3d Hash symbol with elements that make it accessible to the visually impaired. A modular system of 80 individually printed blocks (each block 2″ high) connected together and alternating between hash symbols in negative relief and positive relief form a bold singular Hash symbol. Primary colors and black and white provide bold contrast between the parts, making them more visible. The deep cuts into each block project shadows making it both tactile and with a sharply delineated pattern also making it more visible.
As an art object unto itself, the hash symbol with its use in hash-tagging represents our modern times, good and bad; where data is turned into meta-data; where information is categorized and made searchable; where so many find their voices amongst the billions of souls vying to be seen and heard to share joys, beauty, injustices, sadness…and so much more, elevating our humanity. But other voices use it to tear down our humanity and the beauty of our multicultural world. With this sculpture, however, I choose to express it as a symbol of empowerment.
Maria Neil Art Project – A project by John Farina and Adam Tully celebrates their 10th Anniversary with a show that opened last night. They have been a special presence in the Cleveland art community over the years with their collecting and patronage of the areas artists and with MNAP bringing their love of the arts to the public. They asked the artists who exhibited in their exhibitions to submit a small work. My work is in great company with the wonderful other artists work.
I was honored when they asked me to have a solo exhibition in 2015. My show with them titled BITS IN PIECES included among the 20 plus digital prints something new for me, 3d printed sculptures titled MODEL CITIZENS. As part of their mission, they encourage artists to flex their muscles and bring something special hence the word “Project” in the name. The challenge led me to producing my first 3d work since my architecture career ended in 2004. I am again working in 3d on a 3d printed piece for the upcoming show “W/O Limits” at the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve.
For the 10th Anniversary show, I created this small work, CIRCULUX REDUX, uv cured inkjet on cnc cut acrylic, 15″ x 13.8″. A child of the 60s, the analog days, I played 45 rpm records. Arranged at the corner points of a hexagon, the central elements are a nod to those plastic adapters you put on the spindle to play 45 rpms.
MariaNeilArtProject.com 15517 Waterloo Rd, Cleveland, OH 44110 Opening Reception: Friday, June 3rd 5:00-8:00p.m.On view through July 2022. Hours by appointment only. Please send an email to schedule an appointment. email@example.com
This artwork is about the precariousness of balance. Balance is a constant in life. We all struggle to achieve it. When life and the world is in balance, existence benefits. Unfortunately for many across the globe, life is out of balance and suffering ensues. As a species, humans, with all the technology and knowledge we have accrued, still, in the 21st century, we seem to be as unbalanced as ever. The war in Ukraine demonstrates the brutality and evil that still stains humanity as it is putting millions out of balance.
The 1982 film Koyaanisqatsi spoke to this. Koyaanisqatsi is the Hopi Indian word for “life out of balance”. Filmed over many years, with a haunting score by Phillip Glass, the film shows the collision of the urban environment and technology against nature. The Hopi believe that nature was to be respected and protected. The industrial revolution and the rise of technology did bring balance on many fronts with better living conditions and medicine that cured once deadly diseases, but at a great cost that threatens the viability of a sustainable and livable planet.
On a personal level, having balance in my life is an everyday endeavor to strive for. Some days I do better than others in its pursuit. My art making is a balancing act as I counteract the pain I’m in with the joy of creating as they simultaneously intermingle. I think these counteracting forces merge together in balance and brings together what is needed to create.