J.D. Doria’s multi-decade career in art has so far been characterized by meticulous complexity. Each project has involved not only multiple media, but a wholly unique layering thereof, and a sense of pure invention. Or, as Doria puts it, “growth:”
Rather than composing, I ‘grow’ my images from the materials, surfaces and mediums I am using. Technology is my organ of apprehension through which I curate the generative capacity of the work. My interest lays in the creative process, in undressing painting from its structural forms, and remaining in contact with its verb.
Doria’s current Petri Dish project is one of the most unique experiments so far. Using glass dishes, a crane-affixed camera, and “different mélanges of liquid colors and materials,” Doria explores valences of “becoming,” the formation of patterns, structures, and lack thereof, over time:
By agency of the materials (colors and mediums) the composition in the Petri dish becomes active and generates chaotic processes, out of which a ‘colony’ of images emerges. This is where the camera and a photographer enter the scene and captures the dynamics in time. Images are then digitally enlarged and enter a process of selection till a set is chosen. Each ‘work’ is composed by a circular image that captures the initial stages of the reaction and by the ‘multitude’ of images extracted from the process.
Like the best big-idea work, Petri Dish offers viewers inspiring and challenging experiences regardless of analytical investment. Though they yield odd and theoretically rich results when thoroughly investigated, each image is, at its simplest/most immanent level, a purely physical entity, something that ultimately reflects as much as it emanates. And so is Doria’s work overall—deeply, laboriously meditative art that offers a full spectrum of aesthetic and philosophical content.
Preface: In 1957 Borges published the book – “Handbook of Fantastic Zoology” which later came to be known as: The Book of Imaginary Beings. It contains descriptions of 120 mythical beasts from literature and mythologies of many origins; creatures, conceived through time by the human imagination.
While going over this work, a question hunted me: how to read this book? Should one read it as a window into human imagination? Is it a rare porthole into the stuff of creation, past and future? Or else, is the book just demonstrating the limitats of human imagination when confronted with the richness of nature?
It was this line of hard distinction between imagination, nature and time that caught my attention. What would happen by looking at nature and imagination as expressions of the same ‘stuff’, a continuum where the one endlessly spills into the other?
Nature may be impersonating a richness, generated by the over-abundance of time, while imagination reverberates richness by the generative power of minds, punctuating time with condensed, embodied singularities, transiting a trace of reality. Yet both thread the same canopy of vital matter.
The dissolution of difference between reality and representation, imagination and nature, is not dissolution into flatness, but rather, it brings into presence soft and active matter. It is the doing of the conscious space where the continuum of nature and imagination emerge, always in a process of interpenetrations, always demanding iteration. To trace the real means uncovering realities previously unseen and unimagined, carving bridges between the realms and reformulating that which already exists.
Conversation with Impossible Creatures is born out of the exploration that interprets such a continuum of imagination and nature, and attempts to achieve it by the attentive usage of ‘bridges’, those bridges I refer to as technologies.
The first bridge is between the ‘product’ of imagination, (i.e. a painting) traditionally perceived as single and stationary across time, and the generative richness of the creative process, a dynamic, and continuously opening progress. In this case it is digital, photographic and generative technologies that allow the opening of the image into a multitude, and disclose its otherwise invisible image-cells, now free to continue mutating in interaction.
The second bridge is between image and language; those two separate categories which when tuned a-synchronously and are re-integrated into a dynamic process, provoke the penetration of reflectivity into the fascinating ‘absurd’ of every ‘terra incognita’.
The third and most important bridge is between minds, in birthing an extended reality, a reality that comes to life only by virtue of such a unique bridge. The process of iterative approximations between mind sights becoming an event, a new world being disclosed and discovered.
Technology (of bridging) exposes the ‘middle’, the constant leaking of medium into medium, and mind into mind, unfolding its ‘everywhereness’, opening by that a corridor into a new transitory ‘home’ for perception.
A world full of amazing creatures, that came into existence only through collaboration, between processes, between moments and sights, bridged by the technologies we created, I found this line as significant in light of our future.
(Disclosure: Proud to be part of this collaboration)
Why Xaoss so upset all times? I usually grumpy when others piss this chua off. Xaoss seems to be grumpy for sake of grumpy.
“Xaoss just really really care about Zeke! Grumpy all the time from super super important lab stuff! Glowy green things all the time! Says suuuuuper important and Zeke shouldn’t get in way. Miiiiight also still be grumpy pants about lab going BOOM that one time. Wasn’t Zeke’s fault! Vial and other goopy pretty stuff was just so pretty and it was even more pretty when they were mixed together. Oopsies.”