GV features 3D art exhibit on campus


GVL / Annabelle Robinson

Haley Rosendale, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University has featured artwork called, “Distant Viridian Crush,” at the Calder Art Center on campus. The display debuted on Jan. 29, closing on Feb. 2. 

 “Distant Viridian Crush” was created by Scottish-born artist Claire Ashley. Ashley is a Chicago-based artist who transforms ordinary materials into inflatable painted sculptures. Her work has been on exhibit nationally as well as internationally, and is featured in multiple blogs and magazines.  

 The art pieces Ashley creates are made with inflatable sculptures painted in multiple pops of color. Viewers are drawn to Ashley’s work due to the unique display and her use of colors.

The “Distant Viridian Crush” installation featured around 20 inflatables in Calder Art Center’s Padnos Student Gallery pressed together to create an immersive experience.

Ashley said she wanted her art piece to inspire viewers to feel something.  

“For this installation, I wanted to create a cave or cavern-like space so that the viewer feels immersed,” Ashley said. “It feels somewhat reminiscent of a landscape but perhaps more like a stage set or kids’ playground. Possibly a ‘Star Trek’ alien landscape rather than our real planet, or perhaps deep under the ocean in a scene from ‘Spongebob’ rather than on terra firma.”

Generally, an art piece takes the artist weeks to months of work before it is completed. Ashley’s art follows a different timeline that she says speaks to the creativity and spontaneity of her work.

“All of this work was made over the last three years or so with a couple pieces that are perhaps six years old,” Ashley said. 

Ashley said it takes time and planning to create such a finished and exciting piece. She used a variety of different materials to create each sculpture.

“In the main installation in the gallery there’s Ripstop nylon, Tyvek, expandable foam, rust oleum enamel spray paint, Montana spray paint, paracord, glitter, acrylic paint, fake fur rugs, beanbags and fans,” Ashley said. 

 Ashley said the Calder Art Center is the first place this particular art piece has been presented. 

“The gallery and student staff helped me out immensely installing this, but I do build and paint the pieces myself, I don’t have any assistants,” Ashley said. “You can find more of my statement on my website and definitely read the brochure text written by Sean Carney. He did an incredible job.”

Curator of Visual Resources for the Visual and Media Arts Department Dulcee Boehm played a significant role in artist Ashley’s time on campus with students. 

“Claire’s artwork is joyful and curious work that can engage a variety of viewers,” Boehm said. “It intentionally changes and impacts a variety of spaces, including the White Cube Gallery that it’s installed within here in the Padnos Student Gallery. Additionally, Claire is a very generous art educator when it comes to engaging students, faculty and staff.”