Fan Mail: Dave Beck

For this edition of Fan Mail, sculptor and 3D digital artist Dave Beck has been selected from a group of worthy submissions.  If you would like to be considered, please submit to a link to your website with ‘Fan Mail’ in the subject line.  Two artists are featured each month – the next one could be you!

Miki (Reading Electrical Meters), 2009. Courtesy the artist.

Looking through artist Dave Beck‘s portfolio, one sees a variety of projects, which on the surface don’t necessarily mesh.  A closer look, however, reveals a consistent focus on abstract concepts, personal experiences and research.  More specifically, each of Beck’s ‘sculptural visualizations’ aims to offer insight into the complexities of the human experience.

Beck’s Nebraska City Portraits (2009) give dimensional presence to otherwise abstract data.  The series, created during a residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska City, NE, features the results of the artist shadowing different community members for a day using a GPS tracking device.  These GPS plots became, in the artist’s words ‘unconventional portraits’ translated into 3D digital models on his computer.  The GPS portraits were then printed using a stereolithography machine to realize the tracks in laser-cured resin.  The final result was mounted in plexiglass shadow box – becoming a tangible visualization of contemporary technology and mobility on an individual level.

Logjam Installation View, Courtesy of the Artist.

Beck’s 3D animation, Logjam (2010), illustrates another facet of Beck’s practice: the moving image.  For Beck, the moving image is an extension of his sculpture and a means of presenting such elements in a dynamic way.  Logjam was created as a result of his 2010 residency at the St. Croix Watershed Research Station at the Science Museum of Minnesota when he spent a month living and working on the St. Croix River.  As a product of this experience, Logjam features sounds and imagery pulled from research and scuba diving excursions conducted with local park rangers.  The work is a treatise on the status of water as both a life-giving and a destructive force that evokes the ‘cyclical process of death and rebirth’.  More concretely, Beck references the logging industry.  As the logs pile up and wash away, the viewer is asked to question the affect of man versus nature.

In 2012, look for Beck’s Nebraska City Portraits on display for the first time in Nebraska City in a solo show at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts.  Beck tells DailyServing that he is also currently working on a new project centered on the historic Lewis and Clark Expedition.  The multi-channel video and animation work will feature ‘… their route, the objects they used, and the chance encounters they had that determined their eventual success’.

Dave Beck currently teaches at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY where he directs the Digital Arts and Sciences Program.