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Full Circle

Published onJun 06, 2020
Full Circle

AI/Painting Composite Rotating Projection

Post-Assembly, Pre-Painted

AI/Painting Composite

Application of AI/Painting Composite Texture to Sphere in Blender

Texture Map of AI/Painting Composite

Assembly of Frame

Sam Price


79 Aspen Road, Sharon, MA, 02067

B.F.A., 2021

Title: Full Circle

Completed in Art Department on May 4, 2020; ART 3005 - 501 Advanced Practice, taught by Joanna Monika Malinowska (Assistant Professor of the Practice, Department of Art) and Carl A. Ostendarp (Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Art)

Medium: Galvanized Steel Pipe, Projection on Acrylic Paint on Maple Pine Wood

Dimensions: ~72" x 48" x 144"

At the outset of my exploration, I looked to expand upon a painting practice driven by my interest in apophenias: perceptual tools that humans evolved as a way to derive crucial patterns from our chaotic surroundings. It seems that this tendency has not only had a paramount impact in the primeval origins of art and its evolution into modernity, but has also provided a framework for the developments of semiotics, language, and sense-making apparatuses in general. I have one apophenia of particular interest due to the consistency in which it materializes in my work; pareidolia, which provides the mind with a scaffold for differentiating faces from ambiguous background. I incorporate apophenia through an improvisational approach in which I add paint via automatist generation until I perceive forms, then elaborate on my perceptions in different directions. Forms bleed into other forms through their representational similarities, resulting in an amalgamation of organic elements, strange landscapes, and nondescript intermediate patterns that are conducive to imaginative analysis. I describe these paintings as figural landscapes due to the nature of how these features integrate, resulting in a composition in which foreground and background engage in a dance that tempts unique interpretations from each viewer.

Having explored through paint how these evolutionary exchanges between environment and mind direct human perception and creation, I now expand into sculptural and digital media due to my interest in our exponentially advancing abilities to rapidly and precisely fabricate environments in these realms. I was initially drawn to Google's computer vision program "Deep Dream" for this project due to the pareidolic character of the visuals it generates; its algorithm utilizes millions of images to create interpretative compositions of visual artifacts based on the geometry of the input image. By introducing the platform's images into fabrication programs, I could translate these computed apophenic interpretations of image into physical environments, effectively reversing the conversation between environment and mind, to directly evolve geology from psychology. I started by creating a hybrid image and video based on an input image of one of my figural landscape paintings. After finding a program that creates topographical interpretations of images, I produced a texture that could be wrapped around an object. I then applied it to a sphere in Blender, and further prepared the file in Rhino in order to render a CNC-milled plywood geoid. The form of the piece takes on pseudo-geological features that roughly mirror the forms in the original painting. I like to refer to this as a sort of reverse “man on the moon” effect, in which our conceptions of what an entity looks like can become manifested in topography that would ordinarily provoke such comparisons. A planetary profile emerges when I project the hybrid process video on the sculpture, producing the effect that the ball is rotating in space under the light of a star. “Full Circle” represents a reversal of the relationship between environment and human perception/fabrication stated previously and prompts contemplation of new possibilities for psychological/technological integrations to rapidly cultivate physical spaces.

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