Exhibition Dates: February 17 – May 14, 2023
Humans have been reinterpreting nature as far back as we can record. From the paintings of lions and bulls in the Lascaux Caves of France, to the countless landscape paintings through the ages, humans have been recreating the natural world around them through visual art. In the digital era, those recreations have come in the form of isolated slices that are then turned into bits of data. Images are turned into tiny square pixels, one color each. Smooth arcing sound waves are broken into narrow rectangles that mimic the mountains and valleys of audio. Stunning landscapes are translated into concentric lines emanating from the tallest points as topographic maps. This process of digital cataloging has allowed the average internet user to access a mind-bending amount of data, but after this digital transformation, the landscape is rarely, if ever, recreated into a physical form again. REinterpreting REcreating Nature explores the digitization of natural forms, be they landscapes or biological shapes, and presents known lands and gestures in new ways, by retranslating the digital information back into a physical representation.
Christopher Warren began this artistic exploration with the recreation of landscapes through digitized topographic maps. By combining a massive trove of digitized maps, their free access on the internet, and affordable use of machinery at maker spaces across the US, he created the initial sculptures in this collection that are products of the era and technology they were created in. Warren has since expanded his initial investigation of physical recreations of digitized data to include biological forms such as hands and faces, as well as the merging of biologic and geologic forms. He also generates physical edits into the landscape to illustrate historic events that occurred on the land.
The fractal geometry of nature is a calming presence for all humans, especially since we are surrounded by the Euclidean geometry of rectangles, triangles, and circles in the modern world. Exploration through recreation of these natural forms is an endless pursuit that can veer into countless mediums and directions. Nothing can compare with the wonder of seeing a giant encompassing tree or a breathtaking mountain vista in person, but the study of human recreation of these natural forms provides a look into the inspiration that surrounds us, encompasses us, and even defines us.
This exhibit features a body of work that includes sculptures from across the entire career of Christopher Warren. While topography has been the primary focus throughout Warren’s career, and dominates the collection, wall hanging reliefs, topographic tables, free standing installations, and tabletop pieces are included.
About the Artist
Christopher Warren was born in Durango, Colorado. There he grew up exploring the towering peaks of the San Juan Mountains and the red rock canyons of Southern Utah. These iconic American landscapes instilled in him a sense of geologic wonder. He attended CU Boulder and graduated with a BFA in Film in 2013. He was awarded his first art honors through micro grants from the Durango Arts Center, and a partnership between the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and Denver Botanic Gardens. His explorations of 3D topographic sculptures launched when he became a member of the maker space “Tinkermill” in Longmont, Colorado, where affordable access to machinery allowed his imagination to flow unimpeded by financial constraints of owning his own shop. In 2018, he was awarded his first public art commission, a mural for the North Boulder Arts District. In 2019, he started painting murals across Colorado and began representation with Walker Fine Art in Denver. He also joined the board of the North Boulder Arts District in that same year. In 2020, he created multiple commissioned sculpture installations, as well as exhibited in Land Lines at Walker Fine art. Christopher Warren finds unending inspiration for sculptures and installations all around him, from hikes in Canyonlands National Park, to the stage lights at a concert, he is constantly inundated with new ideas that he hopes to one day create. More information can be found at www.beatnikprints.com.
REinterpreting REcreating Virtual Tour
Nature's Blueprints: Biomimicry in Art and Design
Exhibit Dates: February 3 - March 15, 2023
In an age of complex environmental challenges, why not look to the ingenuity of nature for solutions? The forms, patterns, and processes found in the natural world—refined by 3.8 billion years of evolution—can inspire our design of everything from clothing to skyscrapers. This approach to innovation, called biomimicry, is becoming increasingly popular. Nature’s Blueprints: Biomimicry in Art and Design opens February 3, 2023 at the Littleton Museum.
The exhibition Nature’s Blueprints: Biomimicry in Art and Design brings together art and design with environmental science using artifacts, artworks and photography, as well as interactive learning stations.
Biomimicry is not a novel idea; Gaudi and Da Vinci both took inspiration from nature. Modern science and technology, however, are rapidly expanding the types of materials and systems we can create. Bird wings. Spiderwebs. Rainbow Trout. These have inspired design improvements that enable faster travel, safer bridges, and more effective wind turbines. Similarly, biomimicry in art is a process that entails exploring the material properties, cycles, and dynamics of nature, and how whole biological systems are structured—and putting that into works of art. Artworks and designs that are rooted in the laws and forms of nature can address pressing issues, such as conservation, sustainability, and environmental justice. They can also spark an interest in, and connection with, nature.
This exhibition is aimed to encourage discourse among audiences of all backgrounds as our understanding of the natural world can lead to some extraordinary creations that improve lives and reduce our impact on the environment. Nature’s Blueprints: Biomimicry in Art and Design is an adaptation of the High Desert Museum’s Innovation Lab: Design Inspired by Nature, and is produced and toured by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.
This exhibition is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. ExhibitsUSA sends more than twenty-five exhibitions on tour to over 100 small- and mid-sized communities every year. These exhibitions create access to an array of arts and humanities experiences, nurture the understanding of diverse cultures and art forms, and encourage the expanding depth and breadth of cultural life in local communities. For more about ExhibitsUSA, email MoreArt@maaa.org or visit www.eusa.org.
About Mid-America Arts Alliance
Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) strengthens and supports artists, cultural organizations, and communities throughout our region and beyond. Additional information about M-AAA is available at www.maaa.org.