Artificially Natural

My current work “Artificially Natural”  intends to open discussions surrounding the nature of the artifice in relation to how we, as humans, benefit and interact with nature. I wish to make the viewers think about not only their personal connection to nature, but also the impact that nature of man has had on our planet.

The end of last year saw my work based around false projections of ones self. Through this project, themes regarding the artifice seem to arise around how people were projecting themselves through media platforms. For this project I decided to focus on the idea again, as there were many areas where I saw this falseness appearing.

 Using the digital medium of photography, I am able to capture the un-natural intrusions immersed among our landscapes. Through taking photos of these environments, I seemed to get annoyed at certain artifacts that were intrusive on these striking sceneries. As my work progressed I realized that these artifacts were better perceived from above. This “birds or gods eye” perspective allowed me to see everything from above, showing the intertwining of streams, paddocks, paths and roads. This view was achieved with the help of a glider and once in the air the intrusions of man become very obvious. I have never really explored the Otago landscape from the air like that before and it was interesting to see how far we had pushed this idea of organisational space, this grid format we seem to live in.

The grid is a visual structure that lies at the heart of contemporary art. As a graphic component in painting, it came to prominence in the early 20th century in the abstractions of the Dutch-born painter Piet Mondrian, who was widely considered the “most modern” artist of his time. Mondrian, in 1912, started to create compositional paintings assisted by horizontal and vertical black lines with three primary colors. When observing the countryside from above, you see these grids appear. Roads and fences however shape these grids, while the natural earthy tones help fill them.

 The art historian Rosalind Krauss has pointed to the emergence of the grid as a critical step in the evolution of modern art. Krauss explains, “There are two ways in which the grid functions to declare the modernity of modern art. One is spatial; the other is temporal. In the spatial sense, the grid states the autonomy of the realm of art. Flattened, geometricized, ordered, it is anti natural and anti real”. “It is what art looks like when it turns its back on nature”. The high vantage point has allowed me to flatten and geometricize my images giving reference back to the artificial.

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