Char Davies, The Drowning, 1993
Char Davies,The Drowning (Falling from One into the Other), 1993.
3D digital still image.

Distinction Prix Ars Electronica 93 in the category Computer Graphic.

All of my work, including the paintings I made for many years before using 3D software, is concerned with communicating a particular vision of the world. I do not consider these images, The Drowning (Falling from One into the Other) and The Yearning, to be computer graphics or computer art, but rather art created through computer technology. I call them 3D still-images for they are essentially frames of 3D virtual worlds. They were made interactively with the 3D animation software SoftImage. In my research I am constantly pushing the software's capacity as an intuitive and emotionally expressive instrument, for it is this capacity that I value most.

In terms of content, these images are the fruits of an ongoing quest for an underlying unity of nature and psyche. Fueled by a desire to compensate for living in a world that has become de-sacralized and increasingly bereft of untainted wild places, this work is an attempt to express and reaffirm our spiritual embeddedness in nature. As such, these images are intended to have a hierophanic (i.e., "manifestations of the sacred") quality.

Interactive 3D software (and I should specify SoftImage because my creative method is dependent on it and was in fact born from it) enables me to virtually embody the metaphorical content of these images, bringing them across a threshold from the realm of dim intuition into a "real" world of light and three-dimensional form. By working extensively with simulated light and shadow in virtual 3D space, combining photo-realism and abstraction, solidity and transparency, volume and spatial ambiguity, I am able to integrate subjective and objective, metaphysical and physical realms, in a way that technique and content become synonomous.

Simply stated, my creative method consists of making volumetric forms and positioning them with lights and camera in a three-dimensional scene. Working through the software's user interface with a wide range of parameters, particularly those related to material surface, light, and camera optics, I develop a composition that expresses my intended meaning. The image evolves over many alterations and previews, a process of varying degrees of control and serendipity. When I arrive at an optimum result, I do a final rendering at high resolution, and record the digital data onto film.

On another level, my method involves circumventing the conventions of linear perspective, Cartesian space and objective realism (probably inherent to the computer as progeny of western civilization) in order to collapse a culturally-created distance between subject-viewer and world. In this light, my research is philosophical, as it attempts to express a non-dualist world view which envisions the human self inside the "natural" world, alive and flowing, enveloping like a womb.

Char Davies, The Yearning, 1993
Char Davies, The Yearning, 1993.
3D digital still image.

Distinction Prix Ars Electronica 93 in the category Computer Graphics.


Technical Background
HW: Silicon Graphics
SW: SoftImage

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Last verified: Sept 16th, 2008.