KIRSTEN KAY THOEN

As digital media plays an accelerating role in shaping perceptions of and relationships to nature in contemporary culture, my artwork places heightened value in expanding upon a “physical experience” of nature-based images.  This in mind, I began transfiguring my landscape and elemental images into dimensional forms, exploring intersections between the material/immaterial, physical/metaphysical, and mathematic/spiritual.    
           
My process begins with journeying into natural sites, which to date include California’s ancient Redwood Forest, Kauai’s volcanic terrain, and geothermic/glacial Iceland.  As I dig into each site, I extensively study and photograph the landscapes and striking elements within.  Returning to my Brooklyn studio, I begin the process of transforming both image and experience with form.  Crystallography, geometry, and architecture are prevalent touchstones throughout the process as I experiment with concepts of time and space, siting Buckminster Fuller’s systemic concerns with synergetics and Rudolph Steiner’s writings on supersensible-phenomena.  Geometry functions as a language for time, space, and matter.  The works utilize structural elements such as plexiglass, wood, and metal.  Internal light sources play with perception and the atmospheric qualities of light within the images, while bringing the photographic process of light back into the direct experience of the form and emphasizing the energetic qualities of the work.  
           
The work dialogues with the abstract geologies established by earthwork artists of the 60’s & 70’s through the lens of the digital era, particularly Robert Smithson’s Site/Non-Site works and writings.  The process of transforming sites into images and these images back into vital forms of their own expand upon the experiential capacity of nature-based art in the gallery setting.  Together the works also function to assemble a personal cosmology, within which experimental techniques with media and technology create a critical discourse around the contemporary complexities facing human connectivity to nature.