Popular fractal programs certainly take their share of hard knocks. Apophysis, for example, seems to fiind itself frequently floating in critical backwash, and here on OT we’ve been known to take a few shots at Ultra Fractal (and still have more to say on that subject). But it isn’t the fault of the program if some art communities get overrun with fractal kudzu pumped out of these generators like a sewage treatment plant running at full capacity. A program is only as good or bad as its practitioners.
In the right hands, any program, popular or not, is capable of producing breathtaking work. Sometimes, when I sour on the homogenized glut of Apo and UF images crowding the Fractalbook niches of communities like Renderosity and deviantART, it’s refreshing to visit galleries by artists the caliber of Paul DeCelle and Dan Kuzmenka to see how Ultra Fractal can be stretched — or to hang out with the Faber Brothers to remind oneself of Apo’s versatility. Other artists, like Harmen Wiersma or Maria K. Lemming have forged and found potent individual styles that supercede whatever programs they use. These are the kinds of artists I will be likely want to spotlight on a bi-weekly basis when OT’s Image of the Week swings around to me.
A visit to Stacy Reed’s She Dreams in Digital site is a good place to start though. There’s plenty to see (and hear) besides the art, including photos, music, informative articles, engaging links, and a desk even messier than my own. But it’s Reed’s art made with Apophysis that keeps me clicking my bookmark.
At times, Reed’s work reminds me a little of Karin Kuhlmann (see Blackbird Fly), although Reed prefers a less painted and more unsaturated look. Reed also, to my eyes anyway, creates more tension and energy in her work than most Apo users can muster. This is likely achieved through careful attention to both perspective and absence. Look how measured placement of light draws attention to the focal points in Abstract Fractal — Floral. Reed tells us she’s just “messin with stuff,” but I expect a keen eye complements serendipity here. Seduction is another stunning, minimalist image where absence, light, and (especially) motion powerfully evoke mood.
Reed is also drawn to including lyrics or poetry (as in the featured image above), usually by others, to accompany some posts in order to highlight correspondences. And, although I’m not much taken with mixing generated fractals with RL material (and here’s a good objectification of why), the faint suggestion of sunlight and clouds nicely calls attention to the recherché detail in Mystical Tree.
Tim will be back next week to review another image and artist. Until then…