|Photo by Matt Shlian|
Shlian, like many of the artists in the exhibit, is a mathematician and artist, making him a modern renaissance man. He states, "as a paper engineer, my work is rooted in print media, book arts, and commercial design. Beginning with an initial fold, a single action causes a transfer of energy to subsequent folds, which ultimately manifest in drawings and three-dimensional forms.
I use my engineering skills to create kinetic sculpture, which has lead to collaborations with scientists at the University of Michigan. We work at a nanoscale, translating paper structures into micro folds. Our investigations extend to visualizing cellular division and solar cell development.
Researchers see paper engineering as a metaphor for scientific principles; I see their inquiry as a basis for artistic exploration. In my studio, I am collaborator, explorer, and scientist. I begin with a system of folding and at a particular moment, the materials take over. Guided by wonder, my work is made because I cannot visualize its final realization; in this way I come to understanding through curiosity."
Shlian loaned to the JCBA one of his most captivating pieces, Unlean Against Our Heart. The piece opens out into a ridged arch that folds in itself when the covers rotate. When have you even seen a sheet of paper rotate and pulsate at the same it.