These sculptures are a speculative investigation that is part science fiction, part architecture and part pastoral. They are abstract and extended almost to immateriality and composed of images, virtual objects, animations, and an interactive app accessed by digital tablets. While monumental in scale, they are largely air.
From the start, I imagined this exhibition as a group experience where my sculptural works performed as a site for others' augmented reality experiences. The richness of artists working in augmented reality today and their different approaches would be a kind of Chattaqua in which this diverse and sometimes heady art experiences could be experienced as distinct channels in a single exhibition. I think this is different than a group show in that it is conceived as worlds within worlds, a multidimensional experience. Works are not organized around sympathetic themes in the exhibition but rather operate as portals to other spaces and experiences.
In my own work, I place strange experiences in a conflicting context to create novel interactions in the mind. These pneumatic structures are open-ended and they change as we move around them. My ideal scenario with the viewer is that we will look together into the theater of my invented space to find what might be there for both of us.
I’ve developed a sculptural practice that weaves experiences together in a contemplative mélange against the backdrop of the complexity of contemporary life. My work deals with the nature of things, philosophical and otherwise, in contrast to the absurdity and beauty of life. These forms coalesce around thoughts and actions — each an ephemeral construct. The work takes place within dimensional space. My subjects are the incongruent spaces of computer representation, the collision of utopian technologies, plus animals and insects commensal with humans.
Pneumatopia should hold something else, though, something akin to joy. I aspire that you will be moved, as if you had seen a flock of butterflies. These experiences hold so much and connect to so many ideas, yet to detail them might be tedious and futile. Content fades to a glimpse of some heretofore impossibility at the edge of your thoughts.
– Michael Rees, 2018