The Flight of Egrets is a large scale room installation consisting of multiple mobile sculptures made of 3D-printed acrylic egrets suspended from aluminum frames. There are (4) large egrets in sizes ranging from 6-foot to 3-foot wingspans, accompanied by (42) small 1.5-foot egrets in (4) groups. The egrets swoop through the large, two story space, such that viewers are presented with dynamic and multi-faceted views of the sculpture as they walk through the space at different levels.
The project was commissioned by a former patient of the hospital, and represents the journey of the patients through their experiences both in the hospital and through life beyond. Birds were chosen as the subject as they signify nurturing with their nests as well as are intrepid travelers able to soar across vast distances. Hopefully, patients, their families, and staff will look up at the sculpture as they pass through the space, and have their spirits lifted as they think of where their journeys too might take them.
The entire sculpture was modeled digitally, and the birds were 3D printed in acrylic polymer in sections, assembled around aluminum armatures, and hand painted and sealed. The particular challenges of 3D printing acrylic ultimately required the artist to customize his large-format 3D printer to be able to successfully print the sculptures at this large scale.
A special detail of the birds can be seen when back-lit: the birds are hollow with a special honey-combed interior structure. This allowed the sculptures to be very light for their size, while still being very strong. It also adds a distinct but subtle visual quality. This honey-combing is visible through the translucent acrylic as the light is both transmitted and baffled as a ghostly luminescence that changes with lighting conditions and viewing angle.
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