ene Young Effects


Hand Carved Wooden Buck for B-2 Bomber Mold

THESIS  BRIEF: Gene H. Young; May 1976


The premise of. my thesis is that art and technology are compatible .and complementary when used in dynamic visual support of one another. This is achieved through the use and equal consideration of two diverse materials, acrylic plastic and electro-mechanical components.  I use these two materials to create kinetic as well as static sculpture. The static sculptures are complete aesthetic statements. whose intricate components are used without consideration for their function, but rather for their intrinsic visual interest. The full potential of the kinetic pieces is reached if they Are visually active and satisfy aesthetic considerations in their natural static and functioning states.

The photocollages and photo-lithographs use photographs of myself integrated with television imagery to form a series of self portraits .




"This thesis is respectfully submitted to the Faculty of the Cranbrook Academy of Art in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts. “



by Gene H. Young


Although most people find that art and technical, mechanical ideas are separate divisions of thinking and working, I have found that art and technology can be considered compatible and complementary when used in dynamic visual support of one another.  I have developed both kinetic and static sculpture as a result of bringing technological concerns to an aesthetic solution in acrylic, electro-mechanical sculpture,

I have brought together two non-traditional materials, acrylic plastic and a wide variety of electro-mechanical components in each sculpture.  Each component is considered to have visual importance within the piece whether it is functional or not. In addition, each characteristic of the acrylic is used as a separate consideration and design element.



Acrylic plastic may be transparent, translucent or opaque.  Its surfaces can be molded, polished, and sanded to create visual differences within the same material.  I purposely and selectively use these different plastic considerations to lead the viewer's eye to specific levels and planes within the sculpture. The subtle color changes, opacity of the plastic, the curvature of the bubbles, and the complex grid systems all work together to create a sculpture unified by the design considerations of the materials used.

The electro-mechanical components represent a great variety of sources. They function visually in all of my sculpture. Their placement and visual integration with the acrylic plastic and the hand formed bubbles are a major design and aesthetic concern.  If the piece 'is a kinetic work, the components must be placed so as to function within the piece, but they must be carefully pieced to add to the visual concern. A kinetic piece must be considered equally important in its static as well as its functioning state. Without that consideration a piece can only be seen from a working viewpoint, which is only half of its inherent potential.

The electro-mechanical components integrated with the acrylic plastic creates a strong and seemingly geometric piece. The construction is purposely not rigid in its geometry and angles are greeted visually and not by precise measurement. This loose geometry is also considered in the hand worked bubbles which reflect and distort light unevenly. The human aesthetic is more important than the mechanical, geometric potential of plastic and electronics. Their sources must be balanced by their visual, aesthetic possibilities. As an example the external hose systems suggest an air flow system between the larger sections of each piece as well as serving to direct the viewer's eye. The selection of where the hoses should be placed is more than a simple functional or design consideration.  It is a visual concern in balance with a potential mechanical function.

In addition to placing my efforts into acrylic mechanical sculpture I have explored two areas of lighter, more humorous direction: bronze aeroplanes of intricate detailing and a self-portrait series of television images collaged with photographs of myself.

The photocollages and photo-lithographs are self-portraits of a complex nature. Each image, whether taken from the movie screen via television, or taken from a specific television program has a special relationship to me which is reinforced by the intentional placement within the photocollage. As in my acrylic sculpture the details of content and composition are very important.


The bronze aeroplanes also show a concern for the subject matter and minute details which add to the content of the whole piece, The overall contours seem familiar as an aeroplane, but a close examination shows the pieces to entail much more than a representation of an aircraft.

Complex factors of materials, sources, technology, and subject matter are all a part of my working concerns. The impact of all my work, acrylic sculpture, bronze aeroplanes, and self-portraits is worked out through the balancing of those complex factors. Mechanical and aesthetic ideas are combined to create a fresh view of art and technology being used together as mutually supportive ideas in art.


Operated and maintained by David DeFino ©2013