Maria C. R. Harrington

Artist | Computer Graphics | Virtual Reality | Oils

 

Statement of Philosophy

Art, especially as an expression of a society’s culture of that time, technology, and economy, is a total accumulation of knowledge, values, and beliefs of that society, and is partially expressed today in our computer digital media artifacts, such as virtual nature models in AR and VR. My work hints at a powerful connection between art landscapes and our relationship to the land.

My work is an investigation into American landscapes, much like that of the Hudson River School of painters, but using digital media as a medium of expression. Such large paintings of nature immersed the viewer with attention to detail and realism, creating an immersive experience, one that was felt, heard, and sensed on parity with the real. No matter the size of the canvas, the viewer became present in the moment, left the space and time of the gallery, and entered the wilderness.

The technology of AR and VR allow me to execute works of art in new ways, exploiting the technological affordances of such tools, to explore beyond the work of painters of the past. The intent of my art is to present landscapes in different perspectives to the viewers. By doing so, I aim to challenge them, intellectually and emotionally, to reflect on their personal relationships with nature and with themselves within the ideals of truth and beauty found only in nature, offering new opportunities to reexamine reality, develop new frames of views of reality, and create opportunities for new insights.

My landscapes intentionally frame views with impossible, almost surrealistic perspectives that are completely unreal, yet made real by the visualization, and application of simulation and virtual reality technology. The statistical, scientific data visualization process is juxtaposed with the impossibility of the views. The images represent a high-fidelity, photorealistic, 3D model, an accurate representation of the Earth, dynamic, interconnected systems in the presentation of the landscapes. The heightened realism is the result of a scientific visualization process based on sparse GIS information and data derived from my PhD research, and the visualization of that data. As a result, my work challenges the viewer with an unreal perspective that is also highly realistic. Thus, the images take on a duality of unreal and real simultaneously. The external representation of landscapes, in my work, challenges the internal representation of landscapes in the viewers’ mind.

Placing the viewer into a frame of reference of the Earth, the viewer is cast in an impossible role. But it feels natural because it is perceived as real as the real world, and thus very familiar. At the same time, the viewer is cast in the role of the Earth, transformed into the Earth, perceives the world as the Earth, and becomes the Earth, evokes a new empathy. Empathy is explored from this new, no longer impossible, perspective. The viewer becomes the flower, the plant, the tree, the river, the lake, or the sky.

 

 

© Maria C. R. Harrington, 2006. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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