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"my search for a classical form in the emerging medium of digital art" - harvey rayner

Archive for the ‘3D Work’ Category

Art, Sculpture or Architecture?

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

2d, 3d installation

I’ve been playing around with this parabolic form that could be made relatively easily from any rigid sheet material. I made one out of card board and its kinda nice to handle as it has unusual springy structural properties. Maybe it could be used within an architectural context, or maybe it will end up as a key element in an installation. I’m not homing in on any one idea just yet. Its all still very crude.

structural form
architectural roof structure
winged roof

One degree from ‘Three Degrees of Sculptual Integrity’

Sunday, August 12th, 2007

One degree from ‘Three Degrees of Sculptural Integrity’

This is a variation based on a sculptural work I designed about five years ago. I’m currently using it in a more complex 2d/3d/architectural beast of a project I’m calling ‘Three Degrees of Sculptural Integrity’. I haven’t included the rest as it is just too unresolved despite my having worked on it now for over a year on and off.

It was interesting to hear Anthony Gormley in interview on the world service a few days back. He concluded the interview by commenting that he had become ‘like an administrator of some strange school’. (or something like that). I believe he was referring to the fact that in order to maintain his international profile and produce his large scale installations his time was being consumed by administration and project management duties and he had little time for what he described as ‘play’. The word ‘play’ here meaning, real focused creativity.

This example supports my belief that recognition and wealth as a result of one’s art brings with it just a new set of restrictions and obstacles to creativity. Being somewhat underground my barriers to finding plenty of ‘play’ time are mainly working to pay the bills, raising our family and staying fit. Still I manage these things in such a way and apply the art of resourcefulness to give me a good 80% playtime from my time when I am not sleeping. This I reckon is pretty good. For me, organising shows, and even trying to sell and promote my work is just activities that eat into this 80%. This is mainly why I don’t bother. I have invested a lot of time in developing this site, but I see this as a direct extension of my work and a creative activity that enriches my output.

My point being I guess is this: whilst I remain an unknown entity in the larger art world it is probably much easier for me to focus on very ambitious (creatively ambitious not just large scale) work. I can still take risks as an artist. My work in mathematics and the new art that is starting to emerge from this for me is/was a huge risk. But then how much bigger this risk would have been if the weight of expectation was upon me. My immediate family and friends have always had the expectation that I should one day make an impact on the art world, but I’m so used to not delivering on this score in terms of success they can recognize, this kind of pressure no longer interferes with me. My sculptural project that is running along side my work in maths is, I believe, massively ambitious and this ambition is a consequence of and a contributing factor to working in isolation and obscurity.

There are many eminent artists around today who are making large scale ‘ambitious’ works. How many of these works however are just ambitious in the sense that they are big, expensive and resource thirsty. Artistic ambition for me has never been about these things but about how one organises one’s day to day life with a single-minded focuses on evolving art over months, years and decades.

Domain Stretching And Parabolic Tensile Print Art

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

Tensile Skin Print Art

Parabolic Spandex Print Art

For many years I have racked my brain trying to conceive a way of bringing Root2Art into a big gallery space. Or to put it another way, into the domain of ‘serious’ art – something self contained and able to work well within a public space. For me, there is a fundamental purity in a flat 2D image hanging on a flat 2D wall, but there is also conversely an inherent lack of dynamics in this arrangement. I think this is partly why we see so much sculpture in many of the big galleries now. Big white bare rooms need art that activates the space they contain in order to make the ‘gallery’ work.

My own method of working has been grounded in 2D geometry for many years now and in my own estimation, my sculpture output lacks the integrity of my 2D compositional work for this reason. I therefore have had a problem in realising my work in a dynamic way in 3D space. But maybe, there is a very simple solution I have been overlooking.

The idea came from my current investigations into Analysis and Number Theory of which I am proving to be a keen, but slow student. I was reading about ‘domain stretch’ which is an idea in mathematics that I’ve kinda been thinking about for many years in just an intuitive and abstract way though my artistic/geometric language. To the Artist, who like the rest of us is apparently stuck in these three visible dimensions of space, the 2D surface has a particularly significant status. It represents a means of expressing the world that is beyond the limitations of three dimensions: the world of emotion, realisation and abstract thought. In mathematics however, we have a multi dimensional universe of which 2 dimensions is just one facet. When we move from flat two dimensional space in mathematics into the concepts of topology or hyperbolic space for instance we find new and powerful tools to describe the world. From a mathematics point of view the notion that notion that a 2D surface is ‘fundamentally’ flat is only true within certain sets of limits.

But this is not all. Digital wide format printing on modern fabrics offers the artist new possibilities to re-investigate the 2D surface. Taking the conventional stretched canvas as a starting point, how do we ‘stretch its domain’ both in terms of its physical properties and symbolism into the 21st Century? Into the contemporary big gallery art arena?

In terms of stretching any membrane surface, one way to evenly distribute the stretching and thus increase the limits of the material is through double curvature. If you have ever looked closely at modern architecture that uses tensile fabric you will notice that the fabric in never stretch in a flat plain like with a stretch art canvas. The fabric forms always contain double opposing curvatures. This is the most efficient way to evenly distribute the stresses in the material and thus create the greatest stability in a skinned structure. The actually forms that have evolved out of this engineering science have great beauty which is a reflection of their great structure integrity.

So I say, why not apply this same treatment to the conventional stretched picture canvas. My feeling about my work being applied to a parabolic surface in this way is that the underlying geometry is not corrupted, but rather the domain of the geometry is expanded. With this simple arrangement above, when the compositions are view orthogonally from the from, they appear square. Excluding the effects of perspective, all the geometry is persevered as if on a flat surface from this view. When one moves around the surfaces then the stretching becomes apparent and the information is thus expanded – its domain stretched.


Sculpture In Gallery

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

Big Gallery Sculpture

I  am very fond of this work although it has troubled me for many years. It took a full year to conceive and yet if you only include the time it took to design the individual element that survive today you could say the whole thing took just 10 mins to come into being. Of course without the 1000s of hrs learning what was essential and what was not the important 10 mins would never of happened.

The piece was never destined to become a sculpture. For much of its evolution it was 2D. It was actually through this 2D development that I arrived at the many of the key properties of what would later become the Root2Art visual language. So really I didn’t just spend thousands of hours working on this project with a single result. Looking back I was actually working towards creating the foundation to new personal way of approaching art making, with this sculpture being a byproduct of that creative journey. This, i guess, is why i am still so attached to it.

I like to see how 3D structures fit together and transmit physical forces. In great built objects I love to see how and why the component parts of a structure are engineered for maximum efficiency. In truth, none of these considerations were part of the DNA of this sculpture. The real DNA of this work has its origins in my fascination with compression and tensile forces as well as geometry, but all within a 2D plane. It is very much an abstract form with no roots in 3D physical evolution. This is my problem, the only way I can see to make it is to cast it. For me a cast reveals very little about the processes and forces that brought it into being, which are in this case processes and forces from another dimension. You will see that the sculpture is essentially an extruded 2D template. Maybe a 4m height by 4m wide extruding die is the real answer!

Tetrahedron Sculpture 0.3 Sketch

Monday, December 11th, 2006

Tetrahedron Sculpture 0.3 Sketch

although the changes between sketches may seem small, i may have tried a hundred different ideas before setting on the next step. at this stage i try to keep things as holistic as possible and not developing any one element independently of the the whole. what i’m really looking for in this early stage is the various axis of symmetry and geometric integrity.

i’ve set aside the whole winter to develop this piece so you will see this is still very early days, so getting the fundamental form right before building on it is critical.

below is a diagram of the basic proportions of a simple tetrahedron. i drew this to print off so i have something to draw on and play around with different geometric ideas.

Tetrahedron Geometry



Tetrahedron Monster

Friday, December 8th, 2006

variation sketch 02. trying to find ways of integrating curved elements without losing the basic tetrahedron form.

tetrahedron monster

whenever i see an image on the net i save it and later browse these pictures (many thousands) and look for visual nuggets that somehow relate to what i’m trying to find in a piece of work. below are a few things that i’ve had swimming around in the back of my mind whilst developing this current work.

visual art scraps

The Matter Eater – Mathematics Inspired Art

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

outline of sculpture

having spent the best part of this year playing with my site, making icons, background patterns, t-shirt designs and the like, i’m increasing feeling like getting back to producing some more serious work. serious within the context of making art that is.

the ‘space balls work’ despite the dumb name was the start of this, but this primarily geometric exploration deals with only one aspect of the new artistic concepts i am now developing on a daily basis. i am increasing looking to patterns within mathematical language to find the starting point for new art ideas. i studied mathematics at A-level at school, but never really got into it. it was a shame we were never given an general overview of the how mathematics as a language evolved over the ages and how it can be used to describe, understand and think about reality. its funny that for many years i have used geometry and algebra without really understanding the difference between the two.

for shear pleasure i am educating myself about the history of mathematics and it is providing a huge inspiration and resource for new work. the sculptural form above is in a very rudimentary stage but i think the essential elements are already all in place. it is an example of the kind of thing that is starting to grow out of my new interest in the dynamics of mathematics. maybe i’ll explain what the hell this all means to me another day.

Commission A Root2Art Sculpture And Together We Will Deliver Unimaginable Form

Monday, September 18th, 2006

I’ve revamped my sculpture page to make it more visible to the search engines.  In doing this I’m also emphasising my commitment to realising some major sculptural projects and to enable this I’ve decided to actively seek a commission. Lack of adequate funds in the past has stopped me making a serious investigation into sculpture and i’ve instead focused on my 2D output.

The images in the sculpture pages should be seen as sketches and in many respects the forms are quite crude and the readers a tad cheesy. However, I hope some visitors will also see that some of the seed ideas shown contain real potential for some very unique development. Check’em out!

Root2art Sculptural Foetuses waiting to be born

Commission a Sculpture

Root2art Node Framing Systems

Saturday, May 27th, 2006

Node Frames

the node frame is here!

here is a series of my own work in the new frames

and here is a bit more background

 still a lot of website to make.

homing in on a complete form

Friday, May 5th, 2006


the elements in the right of the sculpture are ‘sketched in’ and simply and generally represent how i want to fill the space. i’ve had it sitting on my desktop for a couple of weeks whilst i get used to it. some relationships, strengths and weaknesses don’t reveal themselves until i can look at the work as if it was designed by someone else. it usually takes a bit of time to forget about what i ‘think’ it is like.

the bones machine

Tuesday, April 11th, 2006

experimental architecture tunnel.gif

above: 3d sketch for sculptural 2d image display module that forms part of a grand installation.

this week i’ve been revisited a 3d theme i’ve been playing around with for the last ten years. its never got further than  thumbnail sketches on backs of envelopes thinking only in terms of very basic forms. this week i’ve actually started to conceive parts, materials and engineering solutions and am getting a feel for how the structure will ‘work’ in the real world. developing a sculpture in software divorced from real materials and a real result is a very cerebral and abstract activity. art for me has always grown directly out of a medium, but here i only know the properties of my materials and can not work on them directly. visual language and medium are also inseparable in a highly evolved work of art. i’m sure this piece will only truly mature in a succession of real life models combined with computer modelling. 

having reached a point in my 2d work where i feel a real directness in my method and medium this project seems quite crude, daunting and difficult although i’m consumed and at times exhilarated by it. it is a real work effort and requires me to abandon many of my ideals and thinking and work towards an end point i neither can see or imagine. i generally feel on the cusp of my own creativity which is something i haven’t felt for a long time.


maybe a architectural variation. the tunnel form is something i’ve thought about a lot over the last year as part of my sustainable building technology project.


Basic Rendering

Tuesday, March 14th, 2006


badboy greyscale.jpg

there are so many things i’d like to explore this year. i’m currently learning 3dstudio max, but as yet i’m still a little uncertain as to how i will be using it in the future. i think for the software to become a truly direct medium for me, i’d have make the tools my starting point and create art that’s entirely different in origin from that what i’m doing now. i have immense respect for anyone who has mastered this medium, and anyone who says computer art is void of craft should spend five minutes working with some sophisticated modeling software.