Theme: Ornamental Systems
A key strand to my work is my interest in historical/ethnographic ornament and its relationship to the natural world. This is part of my wider investigation into how visual codes and models of how the world is become fixed in public consciousness. Some cues are taken from 19th century design practitioner/theorists such as Viollet le Duc and Owen Jones whose polemics theorised direct links between the aesthetics of nature and of nature’s representation in ornament from diverse cultures and historical periods. Islamic geometric ornament encodes an anti-hierarchical decentred world view (immanence) in the idea that Allah is present in everthing no matter how insignificant. Islamic vegetal ornament seems to map closely to the branching trees flowers and plants on which it is based.
These relationships between ornament and biology are explored in works like Cactal, 2007 and Desiring Machine, 2008. The way their form is organised exploits the aesthetic and structural similarities of plant-forms and vegetal ornament. Another type of source material is intoduced here – algorythmic botany – which is the creation of artificial plants inside the computer via sometimes surprisingly simple algebra. Works like Cactal, WallZip and Ornamatrix adopt a simultaneously ornamental and algebraic language with which to organise themselves. They attempt to embody my intuition of the strong links between the natural the ornamental and the computational.
I also look at the way the natural is referenced in everyday objects and the vernacular aesthetics of cheap domestic furnishings. Caravan Romance from 1996 and Godhead Gestalt (Floating World) 2005 are made from found chipboard and woodgrain laminex furniture panels.