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GSP commissions artist who explodes her designs

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Monday, April 4, 2016

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“I like the idea of taking a destructive force and using it to make something that I think is beautiful.

“I like the idea of taking a destructive force and using it to make something that I think is beautiful."

Evelyn Rosenberg

Creator of Detonography Art Sculptures

 

 



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Every piece of this quilt sculpture was blown up into pieces.
 

Every piece of this quilt sculpture was blown up into pieces.

 



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The Tree of Life created by Evelyn Rosenberg.
 

The Tree of Life created by Evelyn Rosenberg.

 



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A blast from the New Mexico desert that was detonated to create designs.
 

A blast from the New Mexico desert that was detonated to create designs.

 



When Evelyn Rosenberg gets an idea for art she designs, she blows it up.

No kidding. Rosenberg’s method begins with a sketch of her idea, ends with a mold(s) taken it to a test range and then explodes it.

Rosylin Weston, spokesperson for Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, likens Rosenberg as the “blow-up lady”.

Rosenberg is among the artists commissioned to have museum-like art displayed in the GSP’s Grand Hall when the $125 million terminal improvement project (Wingspan) has its grand opening in November.

The Grand Hall is becoming a brand for GSP, which will feature national artists, food vendors from grab and go, to family style and an upscale restaurant. “We’re working on brand stuff but we don’t have it all together yet,” Dave Edwards, President and CEO of the Greenville Spartanburg Airport District.

It’s artists like Rosenberg, a story behind the work, that airport officials believe an integral part of the brand.

“She is creating a quilt sculpture that will center on textiles, water and technology,” Weston said. However, Rosenberg’s quilt will be lightweight metal.

Rosenberg invented her technique to make large-scale, intricately designed Detonography sculpture, working in the New Mexico desert with an Israeli explosives expert, where the first atomic bomb was tested, by forming metal with plastic explosives in the 1980s.

“I like the idea of taking a destructive force and using it to make something that I think is beautiful,” Rosenberg said in a former interview.

Here’s how Rosenberg describes, in her book, the process of “Detonography: The Explosive Art of Evelyn Rosenberg.”  

• The process begins as a sketch of an idea.

• A plate is prepared using foils and real objects which are transferred to the plate.

• The final design is transferred to a mold, which for many pieces of art, is several molds.

• High stretch plaster is poured into the molds.

• The resulting bas-relief images are taken to the test range for forming.

• The clay mold, with its bas-relief image, is placed on the ground and covered with the prepared metal plate.

• The plate is covered with Data sheet explosive.

• The explosion forces the image of the objects, including the contours of the mold into the plate.

• The plate has received the exact image from the mold, if all went as planned.

• It can now be polished and treated with various chemicals to create colorful patinas in a variety of colors.

Weston, who has been giving sneak peeks to the airport, enjoys describing the story behind the artists, mostly because of their uniqueness. “Every piece of (Rosenberg’s) artwork has been blown up,” Weston, with a wide grin, told a Greer Chamber of Commerce audience.

Rosenberg, in her book, stated, “My pieces are site-specific: I always consider the area, the community, and the space provided for the sculpture when I design my work. I have created more than forty pieces of public art for institutions of various kinds around the country. My pieces can be made to fit in almost any space, and in the past they have included hanging, freestanding and wall reliefs.”

 

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