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An immersive space with three digital artworks of butterflies in a colour spectrum that move according to touch An immersive space with three digital artworks of butterflies in a colour spectrum that move according to touch
31 May 2024

Dominic Harris: Spectrum

In Detail
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Among the artworks on show at In Plain Sight, which celebrates the beauty in the everyday, is a never-before-seen piece by leading British digital artist Dominic Harris.

 

Discover more about Spectrum, which sees the artist return to the subject matter of butterflies with digitally hand-painted renderings brought to life in an interactive environment in the exhibition's immersive space.

 

If you are interested in adding to your collection speak to an art consultant today - info@halcyongallery.com

 

Dominic Harris (b. 1976) is a British digital artist inspired by his lived environment. With equal interest in both code...
Dominic Harris
Spectrum, 2024
Touch display, code, electronics, sensors, steel, aluminium
126 x 126 x 13 cm
Edition of 8 + 2 Artist鈥檚 Proofs + 2 Museum Proofs

Dominic Harris (b. 1976) is a British digital artist inspired by his lived environment. With equal interest in both code and technology and flora and fauna, his artistic output manifests at their natural epicentre. This intersection has, throughout his oeuvre so far, seen Harris comprise digital screens with both hand-rendered, and appropriated elements. The overarching effect of such crossover encourages us to contemplate our contemporary world; his pieces behave almost as a symposium of digitalisation, engendering discussion around issues like global warming, popular culture, wealth, and the media. Incorporating human interaction within his works, Harris directly observes our emotive relationship with technology-fuelled 21st century culture.

Harris’ work spans a variety of dialogues and visual languages, from the appropriation of Disney iconography to installations of greek...
Dominic Harris, Feeding Consciousness, 2023. Two-part installation. Code, electronics, computer, screens, split-flap display, sensor, Hi-Macs plinth, aluminium, steel.

Harris’ work spans a variety of dialogues and visual languages, from the appropriation of Disney iconography to installations of greek mythology in the form of Zeus and Poseidon as well as interactive celestial zones. Feeding Consciousness (2023) assimilates a ‘modern-day Tower of Babel’; this physical sculpture emulates the cascading mythical city via 180 digital screens that display a variety of digital media from sports coverage to news broadcast. This work owes its narrative to the original biblical story that explores man’s hubris in his united effort to reach for the stars only to be confounded by God and scattered – without common language – across the globe. Harris’ work is therefore a modern commentary on greed, ambition and conspicuous consumption – viewed through the lens of a rise in social media, a developing attention deficit, and the growing ephemerality of news and media.

Other works in artist's oeuvre tend less toward social issues and instead concern the environment. Some of his earliest experiments...
Dominic Harris, Flutter, 2011. Code, electronics, sensors, computer, mirror, metal, screens.

Other works in artist's oeuvre tend less toward social issues and instead concern the environment. Some of his earliest experiments with butterflies began in 2011 with his Flutter series. This work has both fifty-six and eighty-eight screen versions and features the Morpho Helena in flight. Brought to life via sensors and movements, he placed digital screens against a long mirror, helping us realise the full movement of the butterfly and expanse of its wings. Further series on this theme include Baby Flutter (2012) – an examination of ten separate species of butterfly, some common and others native to specific regions Harris has visited; World Stage (2020) – the digital rendering of butterflies to assimilate world flags at a time when social, political, and national identity were brought to the fore; and Metamorphosis (2020, 2022 & 2023), an exploration of colour with hand-painted butterflies brought to action by touch. The latter are some of the closest iterations to the present work Spectrum, for its integration of hand-painting, touch sensor and colour experiments coalesce in a similarly emotive way.

Dominic Harris’ series Spectrum (2024) is one of the newest examples of his self-coined ‘digital tapestry’ works. The current exhibition,...
Dominic Harris, Spectrum, interactive installation.

Dominic Harris’ series Spectrum (2024) is one of the newest examples of his self-coined ‘digital tapestry’ works. The current exhibition, In Plain Sight, plays host to two tapestries, in addition to an interactive space dedicated to the series. These works follow Harris’ digital tradition, featuring an amalgam of touch display, code, electronics, and sensors to proliferate the full effect of his artistic vision.

The series’ title offers many relevant associations. Foremostly, as the Cambridge Dictionary states, it refers to ‘the set of colours into which a beam of light can be separated, or a range of waves, such as light waves or radio waves’. It simultaneously refers to ‘a range of positions, opinions … between two extreme points’ and even again as merely ‘a range of similar things.’ This work, which features multiple species of butterfly in a kaleidoscopic colour-wheel vision, relates to each of the above associations. Designated by colour, with the same Morpho Helena as used in his earlier works, the butterflies are arranged in consideration of their geometric patterning and in their full spectrum of light.

Harris hand-paints each butterfly on his tablet, using precise, fine brushstrokes to emulate the complex patterning and colouring on each...
Dominic Harris
Metamorphosis: Unseen, 2023
Code, electronics, touch display screen, 3D sensor, aluminium
76 x 76 x 10 cm
Edition of 8 + 2 Artist鈥檚 Proofs + 2 Museum Proofs

Harris hand-paints each butterfly on his tablet, using precise, fine brushstrokes to emulate the complex patterning and colouring on each of their four wings. Each type of butterfly has unique wing pattern, which is a result of specific genes and regulatory sequencing and signalling pathways. With Spectrum, as in previous works, Harris’ role is director; via his coded screens he prompts our gesticulation which in turn disrupts the butterflies in stasis and engenders movement. The natural life cycles of the butterflies are thrown out of kilter as winged insects of different colours and species reside away from their innate positions. This said, after a time, the butterflies eventually migrate back to their original place – and so the life cycle begins again. Harris’ work fundamentally comments on the dangers of human intervention, while encapsulating its beauty – as if in a specimen box – for us to celebrate for eternity.

Butterflies have been common motifs throughout art history. As Harman Bains states in his critical essay on Butterflies in Art,...
Damien Hirst, Decree, 2018. Butterflies and household gloss on canvas. Diameter: 182.9 cm.

Butterflies have been common motifs throughout art history. As Harman Bains states in his critical essay on Butterflies in Art, this motif is not a ‘recent phenomenon’. Using examples from Vincent van Gogh to Salvador Dalí, he suggests that their popular culture longevity stems from their ‘timeless kindred spirit’, ‘fragility’ and the artist’s capacity to render their tenets to ‘symbolise aspects of human nature.’ More recently, Damien Hirst has produced butterfly mandalas that immortalise the animals in Perspex rounds. In the case of Spectrum, Harris urges us to reflect on the consequences of human intervention on the natural world while encouraging us to celebrate its beauty. We are compelled to acknowledge transience in tandem with monetisation, digitalisation and extinction.

 

If you are interested in adding to your collection, speak to an art consultant today info@halycongallery.com

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