Sculptor for the Grand Canyon

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Leah Aegerter is the final artist-in-residence for the Grand Canyon this year. It’s a program by the Grand Canyon Conservancy.

She is a sculptor from Colorado who works in object-based sculpture and installation. Her work investigates her relationship to landscape and intimacy with material. Through 3D scanning, she captures 3D models of geological surfaces and carves them out of wood.

The sculptures made from these carved textures document her memories, experiences, and emotions of the landscape. Aegerter received a BFA in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2017.

What does artist-in-residence do and what does the title mean?

“It just refers to opportunity to come to a new place, and make work and engage with the community in different ways. Just be an artist for a few weeks,” said Aegerter.

Do you apply for this?

“Yes, I applied for this opportunity,” Aegerter said. “I had been working with this process of 3-D scanning geological textures for the last few years, and I was interested in Grand Canyon particularly because I first came and did a back-packing trip and was just so inspired by the diversity of geology here.”

She felt it was a nice place in order for to continue doing research and artistic practices.

What are you doing with 3-D modeling and how does it work?

“The process of 3-D scanning that I use called Photogramtree, and it describes taking a few hundred images of any textures, surface, object and I bring those images that I have taken in the field back into my studio and I upload them to a computer software that stitches them together into a 3-D model,” said Aegerter.

“Then I use that 3-D model and I output it on a variety of machines, so while at Grand Canyon I’ve been 3-D printing my models. Typically I work in wood, and I carve my 3-D textures out of wood on a machine called the cnc router,” she said.

“3-D scanning is my way of capturing a piece of the landscape,” Aegerter said. “It’s my version of taking a photo.”

Leah Aegerter, Sculptor

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