A fractal (mathematics) ~ any of various extremely irregular curves or shapes for which any suitably chosen part is similar in shape to a given larger or smaller part when magnified or reduced to the same size
This current series of paintings was based on a large collection of nature photographs taken together over a decade, and generally can be broken down into two categories, landscapes and natural vignettes. The macro- and micro- of nature photography.
That macro-micro relationship and other elements of the paintings finds an interesting parallel in the concept of fractal geometry. Fractals can be described as the notion of a form that can have a similar appearance at different viewing distances.
The whole is made up of several parts that can each be as complicated and rich as the original shape when zoomed in upon. Similarly, that first shape can be revealed to be one of many component parts that combine into a similar but larger shape when zoomed out.
This modular geometry often appears in natural phenomena because cells and molecules are themselves mathematical structures that build and repeat in formulaic ways. Examples include formations of clouds, crystals and tree bark.
The fractal can be a metaphor for pictorial logic generally, given the way parts of an image have to constantly negotiate a relationship with each other, the image as a whole, and their own constituent components.
This current series of paintings, based on my photos from natural parks in several countries, builds on the idea of fractal modularity as a basis for pictorial logic. Despite depicting locations as far from each other as China and Tanzania, the original images all share mother nature’s consistent tendency toward formulaic, repetitive shape-building.
Within each image there are usually two or three dominant forms, which can themselves be broken down to a handful of similar irregular forms, and so on and so forth.
At the most granular level of actual brushwork that describes these images, landscape or vignette, the necessary and in fact most applicable type of paint application is tellingly the same.
During the painting process the original photographs’ drab natural color scheme becomes a canvas for kaleidoscopic color projection. At once removed from the image source and also rooted in a photographic logic, the finished works straddle an ambiguous terrain between abstraction and figuration, both color fields and colored fields.