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Monday, April 17, 2023

The Wildwood Enchanted - A Grand Experiment in Evolutionary Art

The Wildwood Enchanted is an evolutionary art project. Evolutionary Art is art that evolves over time. This is not a piece of static art. Most art is considered to be static. For example, the Mona Lisa looks much the same today as it did when DaVinci first painted it. There has been a lot of preservation applied to keep it looking like it does, but its basic artistic form has not changed. The art may degrade over time, but that is the format of the art, not the art itself.  The art does not change, should not change. Art that changes over time is frowned upon. Its heretical to the art world to create a piece of art, only to change it a year later.

But Evolutionary Art does change. It is not meant to be static but it is also not meant to be ephemeral. Ephemeral Art is art that is not meant to last for a long time. It is made with materials or techniques that ensure it will be destroyed in a brief time

Evolutionary art on the other hand is not meant to be destroyed or to degrade over time. The opposite applies. Evolutionary art truly does evolve. What it was yesterday is not what it will be tomorrow. 

The Wildwood Enchanted is many things but in its essence its a piece of 3 dimensional art which will change over and over again, encompassing different mediums, different ideas, different shapes and different concepts, as it changes. 

To understand it better, consider a simple example. You paint a cat on a canvas. Its a great cat and you are asked to show it in an art show. Sadly it doesn't sell. So you bring it back to your studio and there it sits for a time until you decide that you want to add another cat to it. So you add the other cat. The art is now no longer static. It has evolved. Its no longer the same piece you previously showed. It is something new. It hasn't degraded as ephemeral art does. It is still the original cat, but now it is something different.

Now repeat this process a dozen times. Each time you show it, then you take it home and you add another cat. Soon the canvas is covered in cats. And each cat is more interesting because over time your skill level has also been developing. On the 13th painting, you decide the first cat is kind of simple, so you paint over it, leaving the other cats around it. You've now evolved the piece further. When you stop is up to you? 

What is required is a "commonality". In this case the commonality is "cats". Keep the commonality in place while the rest changes. 

The Wildwood Enchanted is a space which is 16 feet long, 8 feet high and 8 feet across for a total size of 128 square feet. Within that space is a 3 dimensional piece of art. Seen from afar it seems like a giant 3 dimensional abstract painting which you can walk into. Once inside you can interact with the details surrounding you. It becomes immediately noticeable that their is a lot more happening here than meets the eye. Most art would begin and end there. You see it, interact with it, and leave. But this art evolves. If you return the next day, there will be details that were not present the day before and colors and paint that are new and changing.

This is the nature of evolving art, Its never the same and details may even change when no ones looking at it and change again at the desires of the artist. It is a living breathing piece of art. 

But this experiment is vast. Its not just a single piece of evolving art, but many other pieces of art within it. This art will be photographed and video taped. There will be models interacting within it. Art will be created around them. Sculptures will be created within it and become part of it, before being removed, never to be repeated again. Displays will be created, evolving and devolving within it. Ideas will be experimented with the ultimate goal to create as many pieces of art within the larger piece of art until a whole spectrum of art is developed. This is why its considered a project and not just a piece of complex art. 

Where does it end? It doesn't. 

In Assimilation Art  we teach that no piece of art is ever finished. The only thing that is finished is the artist who decides the art is done. So what's the difference between Assimilation and Evolution? Assimilation teaches morphology (the study of the forms of things), it is the study of shape and the merging of art forms. Evolutionary art is just one part of a larger cosmology which is considered Assimilation.

So why create a piece of art that constantly changes? Its simple. Every time it makes the viewer question what has changed since it was previously seen. The fact of any piece of art is to make the viewer look at it, consider its meaning, its reason for being created, and to try and understand the message the artist is imparting within the work.

The objective of evolutionary art is the same. 

So is evolutionary art practical? Yes. Its goal is the same as any other piece of art, but its application is far more difficult because the artist has to constantly challenge his own work and perceptions. He must release what he thinks the art must should be and replace it with a fluidity that is at some times counterintuitive to what an artist should be doing. 

I like to think of a piece of evolutionary art like a city, where the city itself always remains, but the buildings on its streets are in constant flux. New buildings overtake old buildings, some decay, some remain, but its a constant dance within the city limits. 

So how does the artist achieve the same thing within their work? 

As I said before "commonality" is the key. There must be some common factors that remain in place. Changing those common factor, you must replace them with new ones that relate. For example, say you paint a piece of evolutionary art that starts out blue. You may change the hues of blue each time the painting evolves, but blue remains your commonality. To change from that then you introduce a new color, such as orange with the blue, eventually fading out the blue in exchange for different hues of orange. You eventually may end up with every color of the rainbow having been explored, eventually. But there is always a commonality which is a lot slower to change than other factors.

So what is the commonality of The Wildwood Enchanted. The commonality is in the title "wild woods". Within this commonality I can explore a vast spectrum of things related to the Wild Wood. I'm using plants and flowers to create a feeling of a more vast space which is almost jungle like. Creating sets and center themes that explore both the wild wood and the creatures within it. I'm coupling this with what I call "Erotic High Fantasy". What does this mean? I think it will become apparent in the pieces created without over explaining it. 

So with that, you have an understanding of what The Wildwood Enchanted project is all about. I've broken down the art based on the center theme I used for each photo shoot. So a grouping of art will have a sub-title based on that theme. A theme stays in place for multiple shoots before being absorbed back into the main set and re-emerging as something new. 

The timeline for the project is 6-12 months. We've done three themes in 4 weeks (as of the time of this writing). Please use the space below if you have questions or commentary. I'd love to hear from you.



#8 The Elephant Temple

#9 The Stone Man Abstracts

#10 The Tea Party Abstracts

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