Carbondale’s Leah Aegerter selected as Grand Canyon resident artist
Carbondale artist Leah Aegerter is the current resident artist at the Grand Canyon Conservancy. She has been at the Grand Canyon since Sept. 19 and will be there through Nov. 11.
The Grand Canyon Conservancy’s Artist in Residence program hosts individual artists from around the world who wish to engage with Grand Canyon National Park and its people during an eight-week residency at South Rim in Arizona.
Aegerter originally came to Carbondale as an intern at Anderson Ranch Arts Center. After her internship, she worked as the studio coordinator of digital fabrication at the center.
She described a trip she took to the Grand Canyon with friends in 2019 as “transformative and inspiring” and began the process of three-dimensional scanning shortly after.
“The jury is excited that Leah’s work will engage directly with the strata of the canyon and was impressed by her work plan to combine technology and natural phenomena,” said Mindy Riesenberg, director of marketing and communications for Grand Canyon Conservancy.
“It just seemed like the perfect opportunity for me,” Aegerter said, “because the geology of the Grand Canyon is so diverse, and there’s so much to see here. I felt like it would be a really good fit for me, and I would gain a lot of insight and material by being here.”
“My mom actually found (the program) and sent it to me, which I think is pretty awesome,” she said.
Using a technique called photogrammetry, Aegerter captures three-dimensional scans of geology and uses software to stitch them together into a three-dimensional model.
While at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, she would output her three-dimensional scans by carving them into wood and use that to create sculptures and compositions. Now, she has transitioned to outputting her scans on a three-dimensional printer and casting paper onto three-dimensional prints.
“I knew I was leaving the ranch coming up, and, then, I found out I got this residency. It was really nice to have something to look forward to and transition to. It validated the decision to take a break from working full time and (focus on) being an artist,” she said.
In her last two weeks at the Grand Canyon, Aegerter has spent five nights below the rim and has gone on numerous backpacking excursions.
“I am using the backpacking trips as a way to collect materials and also to find connection to the landscape, as is often my goal when I spend time outside. I think my work that I’ve been making is an effort and an exploration of my relationship to whatever landscape I am in,” she said.
This is her first dedicated studio time in a while, and she said she is looking forward to having two months with so few distractions to focus on her work.
“I feel like this is definitely a time for personal and artistic growth,” she said.
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