Humans have been reinterpreting nature as far back as we can record. From the paintings of lions and bulls in the Lascaux Caves of France, to the countless landscape paintings through the ages, humans have been recreating the natural world around them through visual art. In the digital era, those recreations have come in the form of isolated slices that are then turned into bits of data. Images are turned into tiny square pixels, one color each. Smooth arcing sound waves are broken into narrow rectangles that mimic the mountains and valleys of audio. Stunning landscapes are translated into concentric lines emanating from the tallest points as topographic maps. This process of digital cataloging has allowed the average internet user to access a mind-bending amount of data, but after this digital transformation, the landscape is rarely, if ever, recreated into a physical form again. REinterpreting REcreating Nature explores the digitization of natural forms, be they landscapes or biological shapes, and presents known lands and gestures in new ways, by retranslating the digital information back into a physical representation.
Christopher Warren began this artistic exploration with the recreation of landscapes through digitized topographic maps. By combining a massive trove of digitized maps, their free access on the internet, and affordable use of machinery at maker spaces across the US, he created the initial sculptures in this collection that are products of the era and technology they were created in. Warren has since expanded his initial investigation of physical recreations of digitized data to include biological forms such as hands and faces, as well as the merging of biologic and geologic forms. He also generates physical edits into the landscape to illustrate historic events that occurred on the land.
The fractal geometry of nature is a calming presence for all humans, especially since we are surrounded by the Euclidean geometry of rectangles, triangles, and circles in the modern world. Exploration through recreation of these natural forms is an endless pursuit that can veer into countless mediums and directions. Nothing can compare with the wonder of seeing a giant encompassing tree or a breathtaking mountain vista in person, but the study of human recreation of these natural forms provides a look into the inspiration that surrounds us, encompasses us, and even defines us.
This exhibit features a body of work that includes sculptures from across the entire career of Christopher Warren. While topography has been the primary focus throughout Warren’s career, and dominates the collection, wall hanging reliefs, topographic tables, free standing installations, and tabletop pieces are included.