Reilly Hoffman's Occulus

Every other year, Zahner produces one or more artworks in conjunction with the Kansas City Art Institute's Biennial Auction for Student Scholarships. During the fall of every even year, students compete in a juried competition for a small cash award as well as the opportunity to have Zahner engineer and fabricate their artwork in metal and glass. The artwork is then sold in the school auction the following year, where all proceeds go to benefit the scholarships of future students.

In the 2006-07 year, artist Reilly Hoffman won the competition with a sculpture entitled, "Oculus" -- the artist then met with engineers and the shop fabricators at Zahner, and in the late fall of 2006, began planning how to produce the project.  The Design Assist Group at Zahner proposed using the ZEPPS™ Process to produce the bold curvilinear forms.  

Using the ZEPPS™ Process enabled them to make a light aluminum understructure to which the metal surface was attached.  Typically, the ZEPPS™ Process is used to produce the intelligently curved surfaces of buildings.  In situations where a rapid-installation process is required, or for installations at the top of skyscrapers, the ZEPPS™ Process is also ideal.  

For Reilly's sculpture, the ZEPPS™ is somewhere in between.  His sculpture is the smallest form ever built with the ZEPPS™ Process, just after Frank Gehry's pods in Biloxi.  Although diminutive when compared to buildings, the sculpture is still quite large compared to the human scale.   The artist wanted to produce this massive sculpture in as light a way as possible, so the structural aluminum of the ZEPPS™ Process gave the sculpture a a lightweight frame that the sheets of steel and copper could securely attach to.  

The cad rendering above shows the effect of copper hammered through the mild steel plate. The mild steel has perforations in the side which allow for sections of the copper to show through, see below.

The project used three metals: Aluminum ZEPPS™ understructure, Copper, and mild Steel. The back and the inner sections of the sculpture are finished with the Star Blue patina on hammered copper. The sides of the sculpture are finished with water jet cut mild steel, backed by a sheet of sealed red copper, also hammered. The effect is a highly detailed and sculptural piece, which is now in the permanent collection of Topper Johns.

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