Original Paintings

Branching Systems


Regular price $ 40.00
Branching Systems, art - Michael Garfield Visionary Art (michaelgarfieldart.com)

• Posters: signed print on 11"x17" glossy 100 lb. cardstock, shipped in a plastic bag with cardboard backing.

• Giclées: Signed and numbered (series of 25) high quality archival print on canvas. Finished with a colorfast UV gloss varnish, stretched on 3/4" bars, and shipped with hanging hardware.

Original piece painted live with oil & acrylic markers.

I used to work as a scientific illustrator for the Department of Herpetology at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum since 2005 (a few years on-site, and since then by occasional correspondence). Recently, KUNHM has taken to displaying natural-history-themed artwork in their main stairwell, and when I was back in Lawrence last fall I saw an call to artists for their latest exhibition, "Branching Systems." I couldn't pass up the opportunity to display psychedelic live art at my old haunts, especially since my old professors and co-workers have little or no idea of how I've been applying my education. Plus, I have had little experience applying my training in anatomy and realism to my newer profession...so this piece, painted from 7 pm to 5 am at the burner-produced Just Another Desert Party in Queen Valley (a gorgeous desert camping area about an hour east of Phoenix), was a really satisfying cross-pollination between two epochs of my life. Here's the statement I prepared for them to use:

Branching systems are all symptoms of the universe's own tree-like structure. Ancient societies believed that the whole world was a tree - the Axis Mundi - and hundreds of years before science formalized this understanding with chaos math, alchemists had summarized it in their dictum, "As above, so below." The same rules that govern the efficient dissipation of energy play themselves out at all magnitudes: from the branching flows of river systems and electrical discharge, to the arrangement of organic molecules, to the dispersal of nutrients by our cardiovascular system, to the groping splay of the vertebrate limb, to the radiating development of new languages and cultures. A symbolic overview of evolutionary history, this painting was "grown" semi-algorithmically from a visual "genome" – but organized as a collage, to honor the non-linearity of our world's self-organizing principles.

Of course, that was a bit too much of a mouthful for them to use. We ended up with this:

Using symbolism and vibrant color, this work illustrates the ubiquitous and non-linear branching systems of the natural world. Items in this painting - wings, organs, and rivers - have unique structures and processes, yet are also creators or products of tree-like structures. This painting was composed live at the multimedia arts event "Just Another Desert Party," in Queen Valley, Arizona.

A fair compromise. If you're in Lawrence KS at all over the next couple of months, go check out the Natural History Museum and its Branching Systems Exhibit, which features plenty of other awesome art by local artists including my very inspring buddy Yuri Zupancic.

Browse my art on leggings, iPhone cases, pillows, mugs, and many other items:

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