My physical work is largely comprised of watercolor crayon and reductive wax paintings on decorative plate glass, as well as intricate sculptures made from found objects and junk store items. With both mediums, I’ve sought to represent aesthetic over-stimulation that leads to expansiveness of imagination and wonder, much like that experienced in childhood when one visits a candy shop. As a child, I had a strong desire to see all colors and textures at once, including colors never seen before. With each project, I set out to re-capture this feeling of simulated desire and satisfaction. I believe that this desire to satiate our hunger for wonderment with consumerist impulses is innately human, and I hope to bring this incongruence to light with my new works in virtual reality.

     Virtual environments composed of my paintings, photogrammetric replicas of original works and kaleidoscopic reflections will further enforce feelings of overstimulation and surreality, while calling to mind Baudrillard’s concept of simulacra: “It is no longer a question of imitation, nor duplication, nor even parody. It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real (Baudrillard).” Here, the copy that has been reproduced beyond recognition replaces the real, much like our childhood sense of desire for the fantastic becomes replaced by consumerism, and our capacity for wonder and limitations of reality constrict. 

     The wholly contained virtual viewing environment references Plato’s Cave, or concept of a limited and shrinking reality which merely provides distorted reflections of what is, and a fraction of a sliver of a window into the expansive nature and possibilities within our world: “In every way, then, such prisoners would recognize as reality nothing but the shadows of those artificial objects (Plato).” 

Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. Trans. Sheila Faria Glaser. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1994.

 

Plato. Republic, The Allegory of the Cave, VII 514 a, 2 to 517 a. 7 Trans. Thomas Sheehan