Timothy Noble, The Semi-Automatic Chalkboard 2010-13. Mixed media, 109 x 132 x 48 in.

Timothy Noble

Buffalo, New York

Burchfield Penney Art Center

Timothy Noble’s The Semi-Automatic Chalkboard, a robotically controlled drawing machine, offers a timely consideration of artistic labor. Using open-source software and servo motors to run coded motions, the chalkboard etches out reproductions of sketches created by Charles E. Burchfield in preparation for the oil painting Grain Elevators (1932–38). Working much like an old daisy printer, the automated machine interprets each original drawing by methodically positioning and repositioning itself across the blackboard as it prepares to lay down another stroke. Noble’s chalkboard and one of Burchfield’s original sketches were exhibited side by side, allowing visitors to assess the faithfulness of the manufactured image. If you stuck around long enough, you got an answer to its capabilities— a remarkable similarity…see the entire review in the print version of March’s Sculpture magazine.