Art and science: abstract animations concerned with the creation of complexity from simplicity.

Proscion. March 2018

A piece of abstract digital animation that uses my technique of overlaying multiple copies of the same image made to move relative to each other in simple ways and to interact with each other so that, for instance, the colour displayed in the resulting image changes.
This “starburst” animation is composed of multiple overlaid copied of a 36 pointed star.
A key motive behind these video animations is the linking of art and science through the exploration of the creation of complex forms from the interaction of simple forms, with particular reference to the creation of the incredible complexity of the universe from its incredibly simple building blocks. There’s more about this here: Complexity from simplicity: contemporary artworks.

Proscion – abstract moving image artwork

Contemporary art abstract moving image - starburst
A detail from the work

A detail from an abstract moving image work from a series in which multiple copies of a single shape move and interact using simple computer algorithms, creating complex shapes.
In this work multiple versions of a simple star shape are modified in size and colour to create a complex star form. Smaller clones of this star form are then ejected from the original star form, in an action that suggests the birth of new stars or the creation of matter in some other dimension of the universe.

Proscion: Abstract moving image: March 2018

To see higher resolution videos and more information about this series click here.

Study of the motion of water ejected from a hose spray head in pulses

Study of the motion of water ejected from a hose spray head
Video. 11 seconds

A very short video capturing the motion of water as it is ejected in pulses from a conventional garden hose spray nozzle with the head set to different spray modes.
The brevity of the water pulses makes it possible to see patterns in the spray that are normally concealed or are absent when the water is ejected as a constant flow.

Fountain study - water ejected in pulses from a hose nozzle
A still from the video, showing the pattern created as a result of the pulsing effect

This phenomenon is possibly a good starting point for a fountain or other water-based artwork or installation.

Photograph of mundane domestic setting – beans tin in washing-up bowl

Contemporary art photography - mundane domestic situations


Photograph: Heinz Beanz tin in washing-up bowl
January 2018

This photograph is from an ongoing series in which I photograph mundane scenes and objects in everyday domestic settings. Other photographs in the series show such things as cup rings on work surfaces, shadows of soap containers cast by lightbulbs.
The photographs are all aesthetically pleasing (to me). One of their purposes is to show beauty in normally overlooked situations.

Video exhibited in the London Group Open Exhibition 2017

This video, titled Spyk, was exhibited in the London Group open exhibition, 7th November to 1st December 2017.

Abstract moving image: 2017

The video is from my series of videos in which multiple copies of relatively simple forms are rotated at different rates to each other, thus generating complex forms. There are more of them here.

The London Group was founded in 1913 by a group of artists including Lucien Pissarro, Henri Gaudier Brzeska, Jacob Epstein, Walter Sickert, Duncan Grant and Wyndham Lewis. Its aim was to be an artist-based group that could act as a counter-balance to establishment institutions such as the Royal Academy. Current members include artists such as Frank Bowling RA, Anthony Eyton RA and Dame Paula Rego.

To see higher resolution videos and more information about this series click here.

Art in the Environment, Cornwall

contemporary art in the environment - intervention in the landscape, Cornwall

This work consists of a length of brightly coloured cord hanging over the branch of a hawthorn tree in a patch of woodland in Cornwall.

The simplicity of construction of the piece is important. The observer will hopefully notice the almost total lack of endeavour required to create the work, while also noticing the (hopefully) relatively high aesthetic payoff as a result of that endeavour.

The two bright vertical lines formed by the work contrast sharply with the dark shadows and the tangled and twisted branches and twigs of the hawthorn and  blackthorn in the wood.

The fact that the cord creates two hanging lines gives the cords an increased presence when compared with a single hanging cord. They seem to resonate against each other and create a more concrete effect than would be achieved with a single one dimensional strand.

A lot of land art and other art in the environment strive to use only natural ingredients in the composition of the art, good examples being the work of Richard Long and Andy Goldsworthy. This work however consciously uses artificial material in the form of nylon paracord.

The placing of brightly coloured plastic into the environment refers partly to humanity’s imposition of artificiality onto the natural world. This is partly a message about the despoiling of the environment by our endeavours. The fact that the nylon cord is simply draped across the branch of a tree helps to reinforce this message, as the cord acquires qualities associated with the detritus of our throw-away consumer society. The fact that the cord is plastic reinforces this further, and the fact that the straight lines of the cord are cutting through the organic forms of the woodland gives a slight sense of violent imposition.  However, the brightly coloured plastic looks quite pleasing in some ways and to some sensibilities, so the work is also saying that humanity’s imposition of artificiality onto the environment has a positive side to it (but also that just because something looks nice doesn’t necessarily mean that it is).

In fact, where would we be without the artificiality that we impose on the environment?  The artificiality that we create is one of the greatest achievements of the human race. Would you like to live without the electric and electronic devices that populate your life? (The coloured cord could easily be a length of electric cable). The main problem is that we just create too much artificiality. Hence some of the ambiguity in this piece.

The use of coloured cord in this work was undoubtedly inspired by the work of Fred Sandback.

Nought and cross

contemporary art abstract geometric design

Nought and cross. 2017

A digitally created work consisting of diagonals and circles.
In this work I was chiefly concerned with the effect of creating discontinuous diagonals. The circle helps to focus the attention onto the centre of the image, where all of the action is taking place, as well as adding a degree of three-dimensionality and formal variation to the image.

Sculpture created from mundane material

contemporary abstract sculpture - geometric forms from mundane materials

Right Angle
August 2017

It’s hard to tell how big this sculpture is from this photograph.

The square ends of the two blocks from which the sculpture is composed could maybe be a metre across. In fact they are closer to five centimetres, as the piece is created from lengths of two by two wood (two inches by two inches).

The work has a strange relationship with scale. It’s small, but it could be big.  If there was a zoom facility for three dimensional objects that worked in a similar way to that on computer and phone screens, where you simply touch the surface and drag in or out to change the size,  this sculpture would beg to be dragged just to see how it worked at different scales.

At it’s actual size this sculpture looks as though it’s happy at the size that it is, while somehow containing the spirit of a larger sculpture within itself. In some ways it gives the impression of being a large object that is somehow being perceived as being small, as though viewed through the wrong end of a telescope .

As I mentioned, this work is composed of two pieces of two by two wood. This is a common size of wood sold in long lengths in timber yards for use in general construction projects. This sculpture came about when I picked up two short offcuts of wood from a different project, that each had been cut at 45 degrees at one end, and placed them on a work surface on their angled faces. They instantly acquired a dynamic and vital presence.  Due to the manner in which they rested at an angle they looked as though they were embedded in the surface with part of their form submerged.

One of the things I like about this work is that it is made from extremely simple components – two pieces of wood from a builders’ merchants and a bit of acrylic paint. Yet it doesn’t look like a work created in the spirit of ‘detritus art’ in which the work is deliberately engineered to emphasise its origins in the flotsam and jetsam of contemporary culture (Artists such as Philidda Barlow, whose work I like greatly, and Abraham Cruzvillegas come to mind as good exponents of this genre). In fact this sculpture could almost be mistaken for a tiny example of the ostentatiously highly engineered work that are quite common in modernist sculpture.

Spyk – abstract moving image art

Contemporary abstract moving image art
A detail from the work

An abstract moving image work from a series in which multiple copies of a single shape (usually a relatively simple geometrical form) move, overlap and interact using simple computer algorithms to create complex shapes.
This work was exhibited in the London Group Open, 2017.

Spyk: Abstract moving image: August 2017

To see higher resolution videos and more information about this series click here.