Gravity and Buoyancy Fall 2013 University of Florida Erin Curry 1 of 3
Skeleton & Skin
Critique & Due date:
Consider skin - its function as a protective container;
skin is formless, pliable, and requires a skeleton (or
armature) to support. In this project, create either an
internal armature that supports a skin form or an
external armature that houses a skin. Think of a bug’s
exoskeleton and a human’s endoskeleton. Consider
the interior and exterior space the work occupies.
How do these spaces relate to each other (push, pull,
compress, expand, retract, etc.)?
Consider all sides of your form. Forms could convey a sense of delicacy, weight, tension, strength, fragility,
etc. Think about structure and surface, color and texture, form and space. Explore qualities of opacity and
translucency in support of your final concept. Materials can include paper, wire, wood, bamboo, string, cloth
or other appropriate materials. Explore and try to expand on the possibilities of what you might do with your
materials and what materials you might use in the first place. You may alter your materials in any way you like.
For example: you could dye or draw on fabric, paint wire, or give paper a texture, weaving materials
together. You may use any method of joining the materials together. Your sculpture should reflect your own
interpretation of skeleton/skin. Think about the world around you in terms of natural vs. constructed by
humans. Be inventive, experiment, and push yourself to use something other than glue and other “go to”
Other Criter ia: Forms should not exceed 4 ft. in any direction. This is intended to keep the project
manageable and to focus on craftsmanship. Consider these a very well crafted sculptural sketch. Materials
not to be used without proper consultation: fishing line, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, pipe cleaners or other
craft type items, cardboard or similar products, others to be determined. Imagine your work at the MOMA;
present it in that manner.
5 Part Project:
1. research (record in sketchbook)
2. reading with response
3. material Studies & maquettes
5. the Sculpture itself
You will end the project with one
sculpture based on the ideas of
skeleton and skin.
“All my pieces seem fragile, but that is deceiving because they all begin with
steel understructures.” -Petah Coyne
Internal armature: Build both an armature and skin form.
The armature acts as a skeleton, which
supports your skin form. Consider how
the two forms work together to form a
cohesive whole. Choose materials that
will enhance this relationship. Will the
skin be transparent or opaque? Will the
skeleton be noticeable from the outside
(your fingers), will it be hidden (your
thigh), or a combination of both (your
spine). Remember that skeleton is a
loose term; it need not be limited to
life forms. Even tents have an armature.
To fabricate a form with an external
armature, the armature should support a
skin externally. Special consideration
should be given to materials. This
project will take some problem-solving
as to how the skin will attach to the
armature, in other words, not just glue.
Here you may consider exoskeletons of
bugs or perhaps an orange. Are the
innards well-contained or busting out?
Does the inside affect the form of the
outside? How is the viewer aware of the
interior and exterior?
Gravity and Buoyancy Fall 2013 University of Florida Erin Curry 2 of 3
We will conduct some in-class research, but the bulk of this will be your responsibility. It is
often helpful to research aspects of the topic (i.e. skeleton/skin) and other artists who have
made related work. We will go into greater detail in class. Take 10 photos/images or do 10
drawings of examples of skeleton and skin situations in your environment and place them
in your sketchbook. Record the parts that you believe are the skin and skeleton. All photos
must be taken by you for this project, not Googled or borrowed and make a Concept
Read all 3 articles, then choose one of these articles and write a response around 1-1½
pages typed (double spaced). Essentially it is a (1 paragraph) summary and your thoughtful
critique/response to the article or interview. You can relate the articles to the materials or
concepts within your own work. We will discuss these in class and you should be able to
discuss all the readings. Participation is a portion of your final grade and class discussions
are an excellent opportunity to make your presence known.
DUE: Reading Response and Project Brainstorm
You will create five materials studies, experimenting with material transformation. Material
studies should be 4 - 6 inches. Then you will create three maquettes, each with a different
sculptural material you are considering using in the final work. A maquette is a three
dimensional thumbnail sketch of what your final work may look like. A maquette is an
opportunity to put your ideas to form in a preliminary/investigative manner before
investing time/materials and energy into the final work. It is a helpful way to work out scale
issues, determine proportions and visualize potential materials. Maquettes should not
exceed 12 inches in any direction. For these maquettes I encourage you to experiment
with a variety of materials; these may or may not be used in the final work. Be sure to
document studies and maquettes with photos and notes. How did you do what you did?
metals/wire (copper, aluminum, steel, etc.) paper (a zillion kinds to consider)
plaster (with rigid armature) fabric
wood (e.g. dimensional lumber) wax
bone, nails Steel mesh
ceramic materials plastic sheeting
Artists List: Christo and Jean-Claude, Marissa Merz, Mario Merz, Robert Rauschenberg,
Jana Sterbak, Elaine Reichek, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Christian Boltanski, Joseph Beuys, Lee
Bontecou, Martin Puryear, Leonardo Da Vinci, Erwin Wurm, Petah Coyne, Ernesto Neto, Frank
Gehry, Buckminster Fuller, Isamu Noguchi, Celeste Roberge, Do Ho Suh, Charlotte Posenske,
Anthony Gormley, Lillenthal’s Gliders, Eva Hesse, Sopheap Pich, Ruth Asawa, Anthony Gormley,
o Abbotsford, Victoria. Australia Within Without: Elisabeth Weissensteiner, Chapman &
Bailey Gallery by Khadija Z Carroll
o Measuring the Clouds: A Conversation with Jan Fabre
o Buhmann, S. New Dimensions for the Senses: A Conversation with Ernesto Neto by
Stephanie Buhmann, Sculpture Magazine, June 2011, 29(5), p. 26-33. see class site.
Gravity and Buoyancy Fall 2013 University of Florida Erin Curry 3 of 3
Based on what you have learned from your sketches, research, and maquette studies,
construct your final sculpture. You must complete a typed, double-spaced artist statement
for each project that is no more than a page in length. Guidance and class time will be
provided to help you get your statement in order if need be. The statement should
address the central concepts and themes of your work and briefly explain how you have
fulfilled the goals and objectives of the project. You should also mention research that
influenced your project and explain its significance. The research is meant to allow you the
opportunity to learn more about things that interest you. Consider your statement as
another opportunity to captivate your viewer. Statements should be well written, fluid, and
Due Monday 9.15: Your project – completely installed before class begins, title card if
necessary, and artist statement to hand in.
“When I first started making sculptures with gampi paper,
they were like inflated Japanese paper balloons that I had as
a child, I was trying to think about how to make sculpture
about the skin, how to make something like an envelope, how
to make three dimensional things weightless.”
Your final proposal is a document with clear sketches of your intended final work that
outlines: your conceptual basis for the work, a clear description, materials, processes, scale,
timeline, installation parameters, etc. See handout “Guidelines.”
A stranger should understand what you are going to make.
Aluminum, crochet, polypropylene balls, wood, felt, and rubber
14’ 3” x 66’ 8” x 13’ 8”
Gravity and Buoyancy Fall 2013 University of Florida Erin Curry 4 of 3
o Evolution from proposal to finished work
o Craftsmanship - Is the work well crafted? Is it
presented professionally? Are details attended to?
o Aesthetic Concerns - Is the work coherent, are you
using effective forms of visual communication?
o Conceptual Rigor - Are you making active, thoughtful
choices in material, form, and ideas?
Developing your ability to solve problems and devise new
approaches will help you to