Chart II: Manikin is inspired by anatomical flap books. It is a painted woodcut that allows the viewer to dissect a topographical body and reveal its layers. It was carved using a CNC router, which is a computer controlled cutting machine. It is a reductive milling process in which a robotic arm carves material away based on points plotted on a grid. It allows Blair to work on a large scale and the technology carves surfaces in ways that would not be possible by hand. The depth and style of the carving has a topographical aesthetic and for Blair, the materiality of thin layers of veneer is rich in meaning and significance as both object and metaphor. There is physical weight to the work, which she feels is necessary. Organs are hung by metal rods, which signify surgical rods. It enables the viewer to deconstitute and reconstitute the work so that it becomes a performative object.
Artists have been using CNC machines since the 1970s and I believe the first woodblock carved by CNC router was in 2004 by Missouri artist Mike Lyon. Blair’s own interest lies in how technology can be creatively applied in the interplay between digital and analog, natural and manufactured, biological and artificial, virtual and real.