Fractals are irresistible. I can’t get enough of them. My only problem with them is that when the machine generator creates the fractal, I become a selector of buttons, a means to a mathematical end. That doesn’t feel very much like art and in fact is just an automatic response to the aesthetics of this fractal over that one. Apps become the creator, and I a sorter or curator. Yet if I should do something with that fractal, if I should manipulate it into a scene or use it as part of a scene, then I have contributed a creative reality to what is otherwise mathematical.
This isn’t reading more into the situation than is there. This is an essential aspect of what art is and is not. Art is a transforming of the mundane into the profound. Art is the addition of salt into water. This formula changes the water’s properties. Salt water freezes at a lower temperature. Because of this, we have liquid oceans and we salt roads to melt ice from them. Salt water boils at a lower temperature as well, so we use a little bit of it in our cooking to get things going. Salt water is a different creature with different properties than either salt or water alone.
In the same way, art is an addition of energy. A fractal in itself is not art. It is beautiful, yes, but nature, while beautiful, is a natural and mathematical process. We may or may not attribute that beauty to a God, and it may if we do call it art. But it isn’t our art.
So I have completed a series of images using fractals. These images all integrate the mathematical aspects of fractals into the works of art. In some cases the fractal is central, in others peripheral. In all cases there is an interplay between worlds. Fractals become the environments in which we live. This, I find, parallels the mathematical reality we live in, the ebb and flow of the commute, the slowing and speeding of daily living, the contact with reality, the pain and the joy – back and forth – of the inner life.
This set of fractal images isn’t a first for me. Do have a look at my previous Human Possibility series for more!