Hidden Shapes of Nature ™

Welcome to Hidden Shapes of Nature ™ at the confluence of nature, art, and mathematics. Please contact us with your curiosities and uncertainties, and tell us what you see, feel, and think.

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Windclick picture for detail
printed 132 x 201 cm
HSoN teamclick picture for detail

Hidden Shapes of Nature ™ Art Team

three: Ross, Spence, Brooks

diverse: photography, painting, math

together: articulate, create, explore

Ross Photography Artist Statement

Art is my way of communicating with the world.  I try to communicate a message of the pending collapse of our Mother Earth if more of us do not take the time to better acquaint ourselves with our only home.  On my family farm hidden in the Ottawa valley, I attempt to bring the beauty and diversity of the natural world to the attention of others and show just how much there is in even a small area like my farm.

John Spence Artist Statement

As a plein air oil painter, educator, and former high school prinicpal I champion of art both for creators and viewers. Research has shown the brain’s visual engagement with natural complexity is therapeutic for health and wellness. My goal in Hidden Shapes of Nature ™ is to stimulate curiosities and uncertianties about nature via unforgettable images that impact people’s view out the window and motivate them to go outside.

Martin Brooks Artist Statement

As mathematician in art, I am uniquely empowered to help visual creators explore. Visual data is a fabric of complex shapes -- I put these shapes into the artist’s hand. It’s not the computer making art, it’s the art of computing new expressive media for artistic creation. My shape computing has many excellent affordances for both giclè and crypto delivery. As pathfinder I seek collaborators to try things that have never been done.

The math is a little mysterious, and the software is a bit of a beast, but the input and output are familiar: Photo in, vector graphics out.

Our shape software takes an image in standard photo format -- png, jpg, etc. -- from which it creates a Scalable Vector Graphics (svg) image.

The shapes are derived from mathematical measurments of the photo; they are not ’synthesized’ or ’made up’. The shapes are hidden in the original photo.

The shape software’s control panel provides an enormous range of vector graphic output, which we have only begun to explore.

Hidden Shapes of Nature ™ are printed very large, revealing shapes down to the printer resolution, as shown in this 20x microscope view from a 160 x 107 cm Fox print. This wide dynamic range of perfectly sharp shapes is a powerful artistic tool.

20x print detailclick picture for detail

The images you see were created, selected, transformed, refined, and realized by our three person team. Every image is the result of many hours of work, as we collectively explored, discussed, and evolved our shape vision.

Our shape images aim to engage by highlighting, featuring, playing, and creating with the hidden complexity of natural shapes. This complexity is more familiar to the brain than to the eye.

To leverage our trio’s diversity, we structured a weekly studio day together. For example, we might spend the first hours looking at dozens of new photos on a large screen. Aside from the fact that Ross photos are always a joy for us to view together, we discussed and selected many for an initial look-see as shapes.

We then proceed from photos to shapes: hours of group large screen comparison and evaluation of shape images, focusing on visual engagement, novelty, complexity, and ambiguity to create our Hidden Shapes of Nature ™ ’look’. Selected photos and shape images are be promoted for further refinement, either by artist manipulation, or by computing different shapes.

Our studio sessions included appraisal of ink-jet printed shape images. Hidden Shapes of Nature ™ images can be printed at any size; we seek images for very large prints increasing unexpectedness and perplexity in the context of natural beauty.

Pictures: (top) Martin Brooks using magnifier to inspect large print at our studio; (bottom) viewing equipment for the creative process, including 5500K lighting and close-up lens on adjustable stand.
print inspection
print inspection
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Hidden Shapes of Nature ™ are printed by Dave Andrews and Glen Foster.

Dave Andrews (right) and John Spence (left) in Dave’s studio.Dave Andrewsclick picture for detail

Hidden Shapes of Nature ™ are mounted and framed by Michel Seguin in Montreal.

Michel Seguin in his studio.Michel Seguinclick picture for detail

Hidden Shapes of Nature ™ outdoor winter encapsulation by Display Laminating in Ottawa. All weather art !

Manotickclick picture for detail

24 August 2019 Outdoor Exhibit

One hundred guests, seven large pieces (3x5foot), fifteen smaller pieces (22x17inch), in a spacious garden.

Eighty percent completed assessment forms for each large piece, involving visual, emotional, and preferential feedback.

Results were bimodal, with half articulating desire for abstracted compositions, half responding emotionally to animals, scenery, and picture.

24 August 201924 August 2019
24 August 201924 August 2019
24 August 201924 August 2019
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Neighbourhood Art in Manotick

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