"What I like to do is use aluminum as a conductive," she says. Using a program from MIT, she is able to make the aluminum "read" resistance, creating a response. The cloud piece is going through a trial run. "It's more like an installation," she says. The streams of aluminum are like "really long slivers of hair," about 25- to 50-feet long.
Ward isn't a scientist, although she does work as a resident artist at the Science Museum (her official title is program specialist) where she helps with research and development of different exhibits. She has always been someone who likes to figure out how things work. She uses technology and electronics, and teaches other people who aren't engineers how to approach making things. The way she teaches circuitry is the same way she figures it out: She takes toys and home electronics apart, finding the pieces that are useful.
Her work has been embraced by the Maker Movement, and she frequently gets called up to give presentations and lead workshops. "It's not about simplifying the technology," she says, "it's about making it friendlier."
When she was in college at Colorado State University, Ward became interested in making animatronic sculptures. "I started to make these creature-animal sculptures," she says. "I like interactive artwork. I like work that performs for people." She moved to the Twin Cities in 2000 because she was looking for a medium-sized city that was supportive of the arts.
Asia Ward, Platinum Black
For this weekend's show, Ward has several water landscapes of the Mississippi and the St. Croix River. Other pieces are made out of aluminum sheets, riveted together with some under-structure, most of them painted. A trio of work shows the river from different perspectives; as if one is floating on the water or looking at it from overhead or from the side. Other work can't stand alone, and have to be leaned against the walls, drawing inspiration from a cliff along the St. Croix.
1400 Van Buren St. NE #195, Minneapolis
Asia Ward will be exhibiting with Amy Toscani, an artist that Ward admires, and who shares with Ward a certain DIY feel although with different aesthetics.
Opening reception 7-10 p.m. Saturday, July 7
The exhibition runs through July 29