As an artist working with natural patterns I have been deeply involved in a personal conversation about the connection between human and nature for many years. This conversation has spanned mediums from paint to computer, and the process has uncovered questions of spirituality, technology, morality, and environmentalism. The process has led me to believe that my personal psyche is deeply connected to the larger workings of the universe in a very concrete, ecological and scientific way. Through a study of depth psychology, systems theories, complexity, and the emergent sciences such as Gaia Theory, I have begun to find words for what I had only previously experienced as an intuitive understanding through the embodied practice of art creation.
In my art process I start each piece without preconceived ideas, allowing the patterns to come. Then, I amplify whatever patterns present themselves with another layer of automatic drawing that is part directed and part unconscious. I play with gestures and texture to comment on a spectrum from realism to deconstruction. Next, I search historical imagery of stylizations of nature found in human design; architecture, furniture inlay, quilts, textiles, embroidery. I look for a pattern that feels conversational with the existing piece. I finish the piece with an over painting, looking for interesting detail.
I have found that the natural patterns I use are in harmonious conversation with the design elements humans have historically created. The harmony of natural patterns and human decorative imagery could be explained as simply trends in the stylization of natural depictions, styles that are technically accessible and therefore utilized by artisans throughout civilization. This rational materialist argument does not explain the similarity of these patterns to scientifically specific patterning that had not until very recently been, at least consciously, seen by the human eye, or had up until now only been explained using mathematical computations.
Theodore Roszak writes in The Voice of the Earth “It may be that the deep systems of nature, from which our psyche, our culture, and science itself ultimately derive, are the new language through which the Earth once again finds its voice” (18). My work gives me a direct experience of nature through an examination of both the obvious grubby dirt, plant, and bug nature, but also the way in which humans themselves–and all that they create–are still nature, that we don’t simply observe natural patterns, but think in them.