Michael D. Harris
My work explores the visual dynamics of transforming satellite mapping data of Florida’s varied water systems, which include the Everglades, the Saint Johns River, and the Loxahatchee River to name a few, into three dimensional wood sculptures. The sculptural forms of these water systems are constructed from laminated plywood leaving the negative space to imply land. The constructive process of cutting each individual piece of plywood, gluing each successive layer, and then sanding and finishing the work not only brings out the undulating surface of the form, but also the hidden beauty of the interior core of plywood, highlighted by the bands of color running throughout. Ironically, this processed geometric material is transformed into an organic form that looks as if it may be a piece of natural wood from the same area from which it was inspired. Using nature as the visual starting point and incorporating a common building material, my work creates a topographical appearance reminiscent of landscape while simultaneously conveying a sensation of movement of water itself. The hope of this body of work is to allow the viewer the opportunity to reexamine these beautiful bodies of water not just as aspects of our natural environment but to call attention to the importance of how Florida’s landscape is defined by these waterways.