When Art Meets Science: A Conversation with De Wain Valentine and Julie Kornfield
Presented By: Caltech Committee on Institute Programs and the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, in collaboration with the Getty Conservation Institute.
Although this event is free, space is limited, so please call the Caltech Ticket Office at (626) 395-4652 for reservations.
What is the connection between Caltech and Los Angeles-based artist De Wain Valentine? It's the resin! In the mid 1960s, when Valentine started working in polyester the available resins could only be molded in small volumes, because the intense heat generated during the curing process would cause larger pieces to crack and break apart. Far from accepting these limitations, Valentine was determined to increase the scale of his sculpture without compromising the overall aesthetic of the process. Fortunately, he met Ed Revay from PPG's Resins Division and a graduate of Caltech in chemical engineering. And so they started their remarkable story, of an artist driving the development of a new material, exemplified in Gray Column, a stunning, translucent, and monumental sculpture and the focus of a recent exhibition at the Getty Center.
Join the artist De Wain Valentine in conversation with Caltech Professor Julie Kornfield as they discuss the extraordinary measures Valentine undertook to develop a material that would enable him to cast colossal pieces, and the efforts needed to achieve their extremely delicate and pristine surfaces. Dr. Tom Learner, senior scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute, and head of the Modern and Contemporary Art Research Initiative, will moderate the conversation.
The documentary From Start to Finish: The Story of Gray Column, featuring Valentine and Professor Kornfield, will be shown prior to the conversation.