recent drawings. algorithms. systems. organisms.

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Thanks so much for everyone who came to the opening!  Here are some photos.  The gallery will be open Monday through Friday from 10am to 4pm.  On the third Friday of the month the gallery will be open evening from 6-8pm. http://www.harwoodartcenter.org

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Organic Recursion

Recursion is the process of repeating a number of steps which use outputs given by earlier steps of the same process; outputs from earlier steps are re-used as inputs. Recursion is the basis of mathematical and biological fractals. In my art I sometimes use mathematically defined recursion, as in logarithmic spirals composed of pieces that rotate and scale relative to their parent objects, and sometimes I use recursive ideas without the aid of mathematics. This organic recursion is not precisely recursive in a strict sense, yet it contains the same basic idea. When I draw I often repeat patterns but let them scale or slowly change shape in a way that each successive form is related to its predecessor. When making computer models and three-dimensional forms I sometimes scale and copy base objects according to whim, yet the process remains essentially recursive. This type of recursion, unconstrained by mathematics or computers, is generated from the brain, and thus I would like to call it Organic Recursion.

The recursive process tends to create forms that resemble biological structures and systems, and this aesthetic is one that I strive to imitate and exaggerate. Fractals and recursion exist everywhere around us and in us.

The paper sculpture I make is first a sketch transferred to a [3-D] model on the computer, then unfolded into flat patterns and printed on paper. I then cut out the flat patterns with glue tabs and assemble the sculptures. This process is extremely tedious but allows for a high degree of precision. The first sculptures made using this process were made with plain white paper and were printed on small inkjet printers. As I progressed I started using higher quality paper and making more complex shapes that represented fractals and required more complex cut patterns. More recently, laser cutters have allowed me to create forms that would be extremely tedious to cut and score by hand, thus greatly reducing build time.


This sculpture uses three servo motors and an ir sensor which detects objects a few feet out.  The three sculptures, all scaled versions of each other, display an open, oscillating behavior when the sensor is not detecting any object close to the sculpture.  When someone or something approaches the front of the sculpture the spirals hide in their nested state.

Each spiral is made of laser cut hard board and paper.  The spirals use a single gear/link that is scaled and copied.  Each link meshes with another link that has been scaled by the scaling factor (in this case .8) squared.  The link that has only been scaled once acts as the base for the first and .8 squared link. Sorry if thats a bit convoluted.  Basically the gears serve the purpose of making the angle between each pair of links the same.  Add scaling to the series of links and a log spiral is created.  As opposed to many spiraling kinetic sculpture that unfurl sequentially (in the maner of ferns) the spirals maintaing the log spiral constantly because of the gears.  The next step is either a giant version that can be set in motion by hand and oscillates because of balance, or a branching fractal that opens and closes.

The paper units are also one single shape being copied and scaled.  The base unit was modeled in a 3d modeling program (Blender) and then unwrapped using pepakura.  Unwrapping consists of determinging which edges will act as seams and the pepakura software adds tabs where necessary.  the unwrapped sculptures (nets) where then cut on a laser cutter and glued by hand. It took me forever.

prototype for a sculpture involving multiple scaled kinetic sculptures.  Paper was laser cut and glued to  the wooden frame.

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