Five years ago while on summer vacation in Gaspe, Quebec, I began taking a series of abstract nature photographs of detailed textures and patterns. It started initially as an impulse to the incredible range of geological patterns I saw walking along a 3km stretch of rocky beach. This particular beach however was not ordinary, it was extraordinary, a storied place where famous geologists had visited for over 100 years due to its unique strata formations.
What I viewed made me consider not only how many patterns seemed to be repeated throughout nature, but also how we responded to these familiar patterns which we can often also see repeated in our daily lives. Whether it be a fossil in a ancient stone, in a delicate stamen of a flower, a shell imprint in the sand or the weathered bark of a tree, these images can be seen in other aspects of life on earth. This language of patterns can be seen in our own human biology, the invisible microscopic world, the oceanic depths and outer planetary universe. So I wanted to investigate how these same patterns influenced us, and why we seem to respond to them by application into our architecture, technology and the way in which we live today.
Fortuitously in October 2013, I had met and photographed the British author, Alexander McCall Smith, and during our conversation we had discussed Roger Scruton’s thought provoking art documentary, “Why Beauty Matters” and the merits of why we both felt Scruton had a point. It was during this interaction that McCall Smith also mentioned the work of architect Christopher Alexander, the Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, who is known for his seminal works on architecture including “A Pattern Language” “Notes on the Synthesis of Form,” and “The Nature of Order, Volumes I-IV.”
Regarded as the father of the Pattern Language movement in computer science, and A Pattern Language was perhaps the first complete book ever written in hypertext fashion. Born in Vienna, Austria in 1936, Christopher Alexander was raised in England, and holds an Masters in Mathematics and a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Cambridge University, and a PhD in Architecture from Harvard University, and has designed and built more than two hundred buildings on five continents: many of these buildings laying the ground work of a new form of architecture, which looks far into the future, yet has roots in ancient traditions.
Much of his work has been based on inventions in technology, including, especially, inventions in concrete, shell design, and contracting procedures needed to attain a living architecture. Many architects are now recognizing the importance of developing projects which are more in harmony with both the environment and the community, combining this language of natural forms into designs which apply state of the art technologies which are sustainable but also harmonic to the human wellness.
My own first hand experience of seeing the benefits of natural architecture was when I was commissioned by Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga, Canada, to develop their donor recognition program to support their new hospital construction projects. Canadian architect Tye Farrow, had created an inspiring and spiritually uplifting atrium design where arched wooden pillars spread across the sky lit ceiling creating an interior canopy of imaginary branches so the light could stream through. the design won numerous architectural awards, but most importantly accolades from the patients and families who appreciated the positive calming benefits of the space.
The LUMINOSITY Collection which is now on exhibition at the Studio Anise Gallery until Sept 7th, 2014, took 2 years to create and was the culmination of researching and observing visual and literary information available on the human relationship between nature and technology. Initially I thought I would be developing sculptures which spoke to the obvious issues we face on the planet with regard to global warming. However, the more I researched themes for the LUMINOSITY exhibition it became evident that the invisible world of quantum physics will likely reveal the solutions for tomorrows world and new dimensions we have yet to imagine.
Humankind has always had the ability to adapt and find solutions, and this sense of hope is what future generations must believe in to evolve to the next level. One revelation for me was viewing a resonance experiment where a vibrating metal plate and tone generator can create the most amazing geometric patterns becoming ever more complex in their design as the tone frequency increases.
These Patterns of Nature visible and invisible, seen through a microscope or a telescope will provide the answers for tomorrow and I believe we are much closer to a paradigm shift of dimensional living on earth. When you see the advances that have been made in the last several years, it would bode well that fossil fuels will become obsolete through the osmosis of technological change. The sooner the better.