Togetherness and Endlessness | Daniel G. Baird’s “Untitled”
Chicago-based artist Daniel G. Baird’s work broadly addresses concepts of nature, the primitive mind, mythology, and development of visual technologies through the lens of the ancient Greeks’ understanding of caves and human spirituality. Baird’s contribution to the Classic Beauty exhibition was his sculpture, Untitled. Through this piece, Baird uses modern fabrication methods to explore both present and ancient ideas, unearthing and sculpturally suspending a specific moment in time.
The object itself juxtaposes the movement from the past and present-day. To develop the form of the sculpture, Baird used a FARO focus laser scanner to map the walls of a cave and capture its entire interior surface. From there, he fabricated the sculptural piece using fiberglass, aluminum, fossilized tortoise, polyurethane, acrylic, and oil pastel. In using this scanning process, Baird understood the importance of capturing an environment during its current state because of its ongoing potential to change over time. The scan then led to the idea of making tortoise shell impressions on the exterior of the piece. The symbolism of the shell alludes to a mythological idea that a tortoise supports the world on its back.
Baird’s cast form sits atop a metal tripod, a slick, contemporary structure that is contrasted by the organic shapes of the fragmented casting. Drawn across the middle of the sculpture’s open end is a horizontal line, a gesture Baird described as touching on ideas of togetherness and endlessness. The joining of natural surfaces and generating of hand-formed impressions suggest how architectural strategies and construction methods have evolved over time. By highlighting the theme of documentation and preservation, Baird produces an object that has both a great deal of specificity and also echoes more universal ideas of human fragility.