In Favor Of The Imagination

In Favor Of The Imagination 1800 1800 Daniel Stuelpnagel

During the year of 2020, we’ve experienced innumerable psychological challenges, that have required each individual to pursue a surreal array of coping techniques expressed through strange dreams, in confluence of memories and bizarre circumstances.

In retrospect of this zeitgeist, there is a certain compression and intensity to social constructs, culture and psychology in this moment.

Since the turn of the millennium the scalable, modular tech world has emulated 20th-century architecture in many ways, however the recent massive increases in available computing power and performance have pushed digital architecture far into the realm of surreal fantasy.

Even as we struggle to cope with the ramifications of this constantly shifting reality, still larger conceptual and technological leaps are imminent.

So in arts and culture, we remain devoted to facilitating this ongoing experience, even as we ourselves struggle with all of the very same issues that broadly concern humanity, we relentlessly continue to investigate….

In the recent Vector Space Paradox series of more than a hundred paintings, I’ve made these art works with an eye to deconstructing vector space in visual story-based forms, replicating database concepts, and expanding upon these topics, in a series that nevertheless has been consistently fanciful and dynamic in color, craft and contrast.

We now perceive space through the interface, immersed in vector space, visually interactive and ergonomic online, an intuitive three-dimensional visual comprehension of layers, and their functionality.

The familiar geometry of our gravity-bound X-Y-Z-axis model connects us to the architecture of the built environment, the computer architecture of the object-oriented programming model, distributed consciousness through internet architecture and artificial intelligence, and even the experimental space of subatomic physics and quantum mechanics.

The paradox is that having successfully replicated our brains with the Internet’s telepathic prosthesis based on this model, with immensely powerful scalable technology, we make use of our new tools even as they in turn alter our brain function, adapting us to a database mentality that may make us smarter but less human, our tools surpassing us in evolution.

Our rapidly advancing voyage from physical vector space to the thriving virtual universe of internet connection enables vast conceptual progress, yet brings us into conflict with our inherent nature, that of physical beings clashing with the burden of our latest tools.

Even our inherent nature is deeply entrenched in vector space, through vision and gravity, and the paradox has a parallel in art and creativity, where despite the most illogical self-imposed challenges, we continue to try and break free of the structures that we’ve already built.

My paintings and installations present a cohesive yet eclectic portfolio of colors, textures and innovations, they connect aesthetically with my central themes and components, while still showing a fresh and original look and feel that sparks questions and conversations, inspires creative thinking, and contributes to a positive, uplifting and dynamic yet well-organized emotional experience.

The density and complexity of visual information aligns in scale and impact with the architectural boundaries of exhibition space, with a sense of clarity and purposeful contemplation.

The art works are designed to function perfectly from a diverse array of sight lines, angles and viewing distances, providing a clear, focused counterpoint and intricate visual lexicon.

I’m using color palettes that are energetic yet complementary, improvisational yet choreographed, in clear, intentional and considered flow.

The compositions within my paintings are finely-crafted, and reflect a design sensibility of intentional discernment, in the extensive editorial and meditative elements of my studio practice.

In my twenty years of experience designing, creating, delivering and installing art for corporate clients and individual collectors, alternative spaces and gallery exhibitions, I can attest to the joy and intrigue that original paintings impart to the interiors of the built environment.

My innovative geometric abstractions honor the traditions of 20th-century painting while also responding conceptually to our contemporary paradigm shift, the new horizons of a fast-paced creative culture in one of the most persistent and enduring themes of our age, the technological immersion of the new millennium.

The new paintings in this exhibition are dynamic, modular, geometric abstractions inspired by our collective experience with this technology, now starkly contrasted against the background of a year in which even logic seemed suspect.

The paintings are composed in many cases with a prominent X/Y/Z – axis orientation, and multiple focal points, derived from the vector spaces used in thought experiments for quantum mechanics and subatomic particle research, and also related to the fundamental structures of our built environment.

I love colorful Pop-style art as well, and I love being able to create original paintings that enable me to articulate a non-verbal conversation, about science, tech, architecture, and emotionally and psychologically how these themes relate to the ways in which we humans have adapted our brains to the tools of the new millennium by interacting with computer systems.

So in my work, as a counterpoint, I actually use kind of quaint, mid-century Modern, traditional painting techniques and materials, yet the hyper-stylized paintings I’ve been sinking my teeth into for the past several years are also a synthesis of my own styles, as well as being influenced by contemporary narrative surrealism and street art, among other movements.

In my mind, the non-verbal nature of abstraction makes it a perfect arena for exploring intricate emotional, psychological and social forces.

So it turns out that I became an artist in order to discover all the things I never learned in school.

And the return to surreal, dream-like landscapes with beautiful saturated colors makes me think of a theatrical stage, as the psychological arena of the mind, a place where our human nature confronts this contemporary moment.

I’ll say a piece is finished when I think it’s doing what I want it to do, when I feel the continuity between the process of creating it and the act of viewing it.

Art and culture serves a psychological role, I see it as collective therapy and investigation of the human condition; so much of art consists simply of metaphors for life.

My insight into Surrealism is upbeat, but still reflects a lot of consideration, discernment and systems thinking.

Dream-like scenes, illogical juxtapositions, a bizarre arrangement of extraordinary elements; a spirit of spontaneity, techniques and random effects, distortion, symbolism;

And the timeless feeling of a rebellion against consensus reality, with love and risk, a movement in favor of the imagination.

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