The physical narratives of this work are based in optics, illusion and the investigation of the perception of reality. Using projection mapping techniques, the sculptures appear to be made of crystal or glass; they reflect and refract light in a prismatic way. Scenery perceived to be behind the sculpture can be made visible when viewed through the refractive crystals, like looking at another world through a stained glass prism. Multiple sculptures can be linked to reveal different views of the same landscape, and create the illusion that each artwork connects to the same virtual world behind a portal in the wall.
The artist investigated optics and light to create high quality optical attributes for rendering materials in computer generated environments. This work is rooted in a fascination with gems and crystals being a common cultural thread in visual depictions of pataphysical worlds. Aldous Huxley noted in “Heaven and Hell” that numerous cultures’ Other Worlds are adorned with jewels and glass. Ezekiel refers to ‘stones of fire’. Others describe them as ‘transparent fruit’. “These things are self-luminous, exhibit a praeter-natural brilliance of colour and possess a praeternatural significance.” By merging geometry similar to gemstones with projection mapping of optical attributes, the artist attempts to visually convey the archetypes of the collective unconscious.
The artist has worked extensively with the idea of the impermanence all things, especially projection based art experiences. An example of this work is the Sakura Illumination Tour, where Stuart Ward followed the peak bloom of the cherry blossoms in Vancouver, and illuminated the trees with projected video. Another example is when the artist created a projection mapping piece for the rotunda of the Vancouver Art Gallery for Fuse; returning to the gallery now will reveal no evidence of the work having ever occurred, and documentation exists in memories and digital files.
Also interested in the opposite end of the spectrum, the artist is exploring the idea of giving video and projected art a greater sense of permanence and physical value. Paintings and classical art forms retain value and become very desirable from collectors’ perspectives due to their relatively permanent existence — forgeries are difficult and the originals are increasingly used as a form of currency exchange. Digital art can be copied ad infinitum, which opens the concept of original to a debate of Baudrillard’s hyperreal versus the non-existence of originals. By tying video art to specific projection surfaces (the sculptures) the artist links the digital work to a real and limited number of physical objects, increasing cultural value to both the digital files as well as the sculptures.