St. Mary's Projects in Studio Art:

Natalie Cunningham / SMP 2014


My installations consist of hand-illustrated digital animations mapped tightly onto sculptural forms in order to give them life and motion. In this act of creation I make physical microcosms that act as a stage for me to play out my curiosities and release my pent up anxieties. In Saclings I create one moving, pulsing bioluminescent form that protrudes from the walls and invites the viewer's investigation.

I create organic visuals evocative of natural growth and inevitable, cyclical decay. I work almost exclusively with looping gif animations, as I enjoy building off of their limitations. The brevity of a gif and its endless repetition lends it a stability that can feel either calm or stifling. I contrast strange and uneasy subject matter with pastel, feminine hues that evoke life and joy: pink fungal spores blooming from a wasp body, struggling cartoonish figures trapped in Sisyphean labor. By projecting onto blank sculptures and found objects, my animations break out of the 2D picture plane and become tangible.

Inspired by Tony Oursler, I am not interested in hiding the technology behind my process. In fact I am especially interested in showcasing the beads of primary light that make up a projected image, or the dithered, artifacted pixels dotting each frame of an animated gif. When the smallest, most fundamental visual units of an artwork are visible, when the illusion of a living, cohesive animated sculpture breaks down when viewed up close, then the truth of the sculpture is there for the viewer to explore for themselves.