Martha Russo – coalescere

I wanted to share some pictures from working with artist Martha Russo on her solo exhibition at Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art.

Martha (the artist) worked with Eric Fauble (an engineering student) and I (an…art engineer?) to create a curved wall that would house her gigantic pieceĀ nomos.

This wall was designed with a few things in mind:

  • It had to bear the enormous weight of the piece (ceramic, thousands of pounds)
  • It had to be install in the gallery in just a few days
  • It had to compliment the space

We came up with a modular design, built in sections off-site that were ready to assemble when they arrived on-site. The wall ‘swallowed up’ some existing columns, and made a nice use of the space. The installation facing is actually a type of strong foam (ethafoam) that makes installation of the artwork incredibly easy while maintaining the strength we needed.

Working on the modular curved wall in Jamestown, CO

Working on the modular curved wall in Jamestown, CO

Part of the install crew!

The wall completed on-site

The wall completed on-site, see how it ‘captures’ the columns on-site


nomos installed — photo credit to BMoCA staff

The piece is composed of thousands of individual ceramic pieces with a pointed end, and they are simply ‘poked’ through the foam. A vast improvement, said Martha, over the previous installations which required holes drilled for each individual piece.

more artwork installed to the ‘knife-edge’ curved walls — photo credit to BMoCA staff

We also created a curved wall section (plywood backed this time) for other pieces. CNC machining for the shape of the wall made complex shapes very easy.

Working with Martha and the team was such a thrill and pleasure–it’s always fun to engineer for artists.

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