Urban Wild – artist statement about recent works

My work explores artificial environments and the decline of wild natural habitats. The objects I create, such as paintings, dioramas, vertical gardens, tables, or composites thereof, have an independent life, guided purely by aesthetic non-environmental goals. This contradiction between design and environmental activism is a driving force in my work.
My work draws from the mapping of hurricane floods, urban sprawls, habitat loss, and contemporary landscape design. While drawing from these sources, I create fictional settings that are based on surrealist experiments. Some of these experiments include inverting water and land, representing water with an alarming hot pink, integrating sustainable vertical gardens with dwarf plants to represent forest canopies, re-purposing modular IKEA panels, and using artificial plants in conjunction with watering systems. These elements together form an open-ended visual narrative about the hybrid nature of our world, and about the perversion of the human impact on the wild natural environment. These environmental narratives are not mere illustrations of environmental messages but abstract visual syntheses, which I complete through exploration of the aesthetic ideals of balance and beauty, of the fashionable, and of the strange and sublime. In this way, my work further examines the complex and controversial nature of human desire as a driving force behind our consumerism and behind our environmental actions.

 

* My art can be interactive with the audience as the audience is invited to participate in shaping the planted areas. As opposed to capturing a single moment, my works with live plants encompass a full span of growth and change, through metamorphosis of live plants and through human interaction.

** My artworks with preserved plants explore natural environments in the context (and future) of natural history.

*** Some artworks are a mix containing the living greens and the plant taxidermy (archival preserved real dead plants that look alive), with an open-ended outlook.

**** My freestanding sculptural tables merge my artistic vision with furniture design.

 

Retrospective Statement

Since 2001, my art has been an exploration of the relationship between the organic natural and the man-made worlds on shifting scales: the subatomic, the microscopic, the environmental and the global scale. The results have been mostly abstract but sometimes representational. While drawing references from natural and fabricated systems, my approach to forming images has been driven by autonomous aesthetic choices and primal expression. This approach has allowed me to introduce a tactile, colorful and emotional – ‘ecological self’ into the complex equations of environmental balance.

Ivan Stojakovic