Morphogenesis

developed in collaboration with lead artist Beverly Weiss, 2000

A SITE-SPECIFIC AND INTERACTIVE CONCRETE SCULPTURE
BASED ON THEMES FROM NATURE FOR
THE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER AT CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, CHICO

Underlying our work as artists is the conviction that a reassessment of the human relationship with nature is key to addressing our current environmental crisis. Our civilization has a fundamental “crisis of perception” in regard to the natural environment. It is precisely our perceptual failings that have led us to degrade our environment. We call for a new perception of nature - one that emphasizes the vast web of relationships that constitutes life on earth.

We design forms that embody the fractal patterning of biological forms. The morphologies of fungi, lichens, sponges, and trees all serve as sources of inspiration. We utilize iterative shapes, scaling, and asymmetry to create sculpture with a sense of biological urgency - imbuing the inanimate with the uniquely animate attributes of growth, movement, and development.

Access to the work unfolds physically, through spatial interaction and contact; intellectually, through the perception of formal relationships; and emotionally, through the interpretation of the whole. By interacting with the sculpture, the viewer’s imagination opens to a perception of organic development, thereby increasing awareness of the dynamics of the natural environment.

Our work is aimed at reawakening a sense of the emotional and substantive relationship with nature that has been sublimated in our society. To see ourselves as part of a vast, global ecosystem is to recognize the ubiquity of our interdependence - both among ourselves in our social relations, and between us and the animate world within which we are embedded.

Art can open our minds, hearts, and spirits. If we are to reconnect to our relationship with nature (as we must), we need reminders in urban areas. We designed Morphogenesis for the courtyard of the Performing Arts Center in Chico, CA because this site was exemplary of the types of barren public spaces that characterize our urban environments.

The alienating effect of authoritarian architecture obstructs our relationships with each other and with the natural environment. Morphogenesis introduces a dynamic and inviting organic form into an otherwise static and previously underutilized environment, activating the space both formally and through human interaction.

Morphogenesis is a symbol of life both in form and content and can provide an experience of growth and dynamic organization. The sculpture is a metaphor for the regenerative capacity of life on our planet and the beauty of our interconnectedness with nature and each other.
 
 
 
 
© copyright 2017, Jim Modiano