sbioelements (from Undersea) by Tatiana Plokhova
I figured it might be time to return again to examining work that falls into the category of Phase Two fractal art. Tim laid down the foundation for Phase Two thinking in an earlier OT post where he notes that
Phase Two fractal art focuses on the image and not how it was made. Perhaps in Phase Two fractal art the word “fractal” is no longer relevant because the word fractal only has meaning if the artwork exhibits a fractal appearance.
I followed up with several OT posts — including here and here — showing examples of Phase Two fractal-influenced art. These works were not made using software but rather inhabited the nooks and corners of the more conventional art world.
The digital art of Russian artist Tatiana Plokhova often displays fractal traits and is indeed digitally designed. However, it appears to be a made-by-hand crazy quilt comprised of multiple techniques — including illustration, drawing, photography, graphic design, and digital imaging. The fish in the image above likely began their swim in a digital photo.
white (from Floral Concepts) by Tatiana Plokhova
An image like "white" looks like it could have originated in Ultra Fractal or Fractal Explorer. But it did not, as the editors of Sublimotion point out:
[Plokhova’s] style resembles fractal art, but, amazingly enough, hers is a hundred percent handmade creation. One instinctively feels that the complexity of her lines and dots does not lead to a dead end, but to an inner universe aligning with our consciousness. Tatiana subdues what’s mechanical in favour of the manual, what’s scientific remakes into organic, what’s alien and distant she represents personally.
Is the implication here that conventional fractal art is the aforementioned "dead end"? Perhaps. In an interview on the same site, Plokhova outlines her process:
My technique is quite simple, it’s just lines and dots. All the images are “handmade” vectors, it’s not a result of processing or fractals. I like mathematical art, but when it’s made by a machine, it almost never looks alive.
That last remark may be a gut punch to some of OT’s readers. It would be interesting to better understand what Plokhova means by "alive." Her work, like fractal art in general, is heavily non-representational, although she does incorporate biological designs, microscopic structures, floral patterns, and even cartography. Perhaps the reference is to a claim of a prevailing coldness embodied in algorithmic art, as the editors suggest here in a conversation with the artist:
At first sight, your artwork indeed brings fractal art to mind, but immediately one can feel that there is much more to it. It is extremely complex, yet living, organic.
Do you agree?
Northern Circle 12 (from Chaos and Structures) by Tatiana Plokhova
For images some find "organic" by arguing they were created by hand rather than mouse-clicked by math, I find Plokhova’s work filled (ironically) with absence. She might even agree:
I think that the way of making pictures with lines and dots somehow reflects philosophical ideas of emptiness.
Somehow, I think the "cold equations," in Tom Godwin’s phrase, are just as capable of revealing what is not there.
By the way, Plokhova has also compiled some striking videos of her work. Case in point:
Can spatters reveal the visible remains of chaotic systems? Claims have been made that Jackson Pollock’s action paintings reveal fractal structures. Perhaps blood spatters jog beyond ballistics and "run cold" into the neighborhood of recursion. Even the "ornithological dejecta" that occasionally splays on your windshield might congeal into shapes similar to strange attractors. If so, I submit this photograph by Kate Peters for your Phase Two consideration:
Fire by Kate Peters
Have we been barking up the wrong aesthetic? It appears there’s no longer any need to ask mathematicians or artists to explain the infinite intricacies of fractal art. Just put in a call in to your local CSI criminologists for a definitive take on the subject:
Dexter and his "fractal art" series entitled Dark Passengers. "My work always follows the code."
[Photograph seen on This and That and More of the Same.]
"Graphic" cable television suddenly makes perfect sense to me.