Maria C. R. Harrington

Artist | Computer Graphics | Virtual Reality | Oils


Statement of Philosophy

The intent of my art is to present landscapes in different perspectives to the viewers. By doing so, I aim to challenge them, intellectually and emotionally, to reflect on their personal relationships with nature and with themselves within the ideals of truth and beauty.

My landscapes intentionally frame views with impossible, almost surrealistic perspectives that are completely unreal, yet made real by the visualization, and application of simulation and virtual reality technology. The statistical, scientific data visualization process is juxtaposed with the impossibility of the views. The images represent a high-fidelity, photo-realistic, 3D computer-graphic, and accurate representation of the earth’s dynamic, interconnected systems: the ecology, watersheds, trees, plants, and flowers. The heightened realism is the result of a scientific visualization process based on data derived from my PhD research and the visualization of that data. As a result, my work challenges the viewer with an unreal perspective that is also highly realistic. Thus, the images take on a duality of unreal and real simultaneously.

Placing the viewer into a frame of reference of the earth—using anything from a leafy tree to a rippling river—the viewer is cast in an impossible role. But it feels natural because it is perceived as real as the real world, and thus very familiar. At the same time, the viewer is cast in the role of the earth, transformed into the earth, perceives the world as the earth, and becomes the earth, thus making emotional reaction of empathy for the earth available to experience. Empathy is explored from this new, no longer impossible perspective. The viewer can experience the Earth from the Earth’s point of view.

The artistic process of my art is to push the boundaries of photo-realistic game engines, simulations, and virtual reality technology as an art medium, and to explore the possibilities of shifting human consciousness in the process. This process has evolved from 1985, when I studied painting and computer graphics as an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University.  Under the tutelage of Harry Holland, who was at the time an established painter and pioneer in computer graphics, I started to explore the uniqueness of the medium for new creative expression in the form of electronic paintings.

© Maria C. R. Harrington, 2006. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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