HyperNurnia is on the wall at The Red Head Gallery

We hung the show last night, just in time for opening day. If you're in Toronto, go see it at The Red Head Gallery, 401 Richmond St West.

The opening reception is Friday evening, 6-9pm.


HyperNurnia - An Exhibition of New Work by Mathew Borrett

I'm fighting against time and a cramping hand to finish up three large peices that will be on display at The Red Head Gallery in Toronto from Oct 7th to 31st.

The opening night party is on Friday, October 9th, from 6pm to 9pm. Facebook event page here.

Below is a large detail from "Fever Dream City", which is 96" x 42":


Noodling in an Ever-Shifting Procedural Landscape

Here's a couple of recent instagrams I posted. These are details of much larger renders which I'm not quite sready to reveal (until my show in October, at the Red Head Gallery in Toronto).

I plan to print some of them roughly 8 feet x 4 feet, at a crisp 300 dots per inch. This requires coaxing out renders 28,800 pixels wide. I'm constantly bumping into hardware and software limitations. Thankfully I can farm out these huge renders, as my machine alone would take well over a week to get through one.


The process of making these involves a great variety of stages and components, which range from drawing and virtual sculpture to something more akin to programming. They consist of a set of elements numbering roughly 300 at last count, and which include things like rocks, trees, buildings, abstract forms, etc.. These are then randomly scattered in vast numbers across a given terrain (itself possibly randomly generated).

Each set of randomized elements must follow a set of rules of my choosing. For example, I might say "rocks, you are only allowed to exist at altitudes between 15 and 23.7 meters", or "trees you may only grow on slopes of between 30 and 45 degrees", and so on. The system remains live, and I can change a single parameter and the random arrangement will shuffle itslef into a new configuration based on the tweaked rules. I can see previews of the state of the system at any time. For every proper render I do, I flit past several variations that will never be seen again. After enough noodling I'll get to something I like, I save the settings and do a medium-sized render (as in maybe 9000 pixels wide) which my computer can render overnight. Based on those renders I will opt to refine some of them further into much larger images. Along the way, the scenes acquire ever more computer-straining bulk, which makes the going quite slow.

On its own, any given procedural system based on a simple set of rules will tend to look obviously artificial. When combined with several others you start to get a rough approximation of something natural. If you look closely you will notice that the whole image consists of the same objects repeated in different configurations.

Working with randomness in this way leads to compositions that I would not contrive when drawing. In that way the process is more like photographing a landscape, an ever shifting landscape that exists as a collaboration between myself and randomly emergent patterns. A landscape where I have full control of lighting, atmosphere, and other conditions.

The software I am primarily using to do all this is The Foundry's Modo.




More recent Instagrams




Instagram Collection

I posted a collection of my recent instagrams on the Modo forums. These images are actually just cropped down details of larger renderings, which form the basis of some new work I'm doing.