• Anna Mladentseva

Diana Lynn VanderMeulen: 𝓈𝒽𝒾𝓂𝓂𝑒𝓇𝑜𝒻𝒶𝓅𝑒𝓉𝒶𝓁, n̴o̴w̴ ̴a̴ ̴m̴o̴u̴n̴t̴a̴i̴n̴ ̴s̴t̴r̴e̴a̴m̴'

Diana Lynn VanderMeulen’s ‘𝓈𝒽𝒾𝓂𝓂𝑒𝓇𝑜𝒻𝒶𝓅𝑒𝓉𝒶𝓁, n̴o̴w̴ ̴a̴ ̴m̴o̴u̴n̴t̴a̴i̴n̴ ̴s̴t̴r̴e̴a̴m̴’ is a hybrid online/ offline exhibition available on the website of Sky Fine Foods. Previously, the exhibition was presented in Art Gate VR, a novel virtual gallery platform, and briefly in the windows of a Toronto coffee shop ‘Loudres’.


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Featuring fifteen looping moving image artworks and still images, the exhibition examines metaphysical curiosities of VanderMeulen’s born-digital landscapes. The artist’s creations are simultaneously organic and oddly synthetic ­­­— familiar constructions of stems, petals, algae and riverbeds are coated in shiny, at times even metallic, surfaces that scatter light in unprecedented ways.


'.¸,¤°´✿.。.:* 𝐁𝔩𝔬ⓞ𝕄 ⓕ𝔬𝐑๓αtⒾ𝑜𝓃 *.:。.✿`°¤,¸.• (II)'


“Through my practice I draw connections between materials that are super synthetic, elements of product packaging, party supplies, plastic [… and] fantastic moments in nature that are a little bit harder to find. So, you know, experiencing something super small, like a beautiful insect wing or a flower petal, or seeing the images from the deep sea, outer space”


Diana Lynn VanderMeulen


'b҉i҉o҉l҉u҉m҉i҉n҉e҉s҉c҉e҉n҉t҉ ҉w҉a҉t҉e҉r҉s҉ (view I)' (right) 'chₑckᵢng thₑ ᵥᵢₑws' (left)


There never seems to be a consistent light source or perspective ­— viewers are placed above, below or even through the artist’s subjects, playing with selective vision and situated perspectives. By chopping and diffusing light into unexpected corners, spawning subtle reflections and suspending objects in artificial planes, VanderMeulen cleverly reimagines magic realism in the context of the digital.


Most importantly, the purpose of the artist’s peculiar landscapes and perspectival experiments does not lie solely in the imaginary. By finding a point of contact between the natural and synthetic, VanderMeulen uses technology as a tool for reflecting on our imminent ecological condition. Can the artificial live in harmony with the organic? How exactly are the extractive processes powering our society, including our technology, changing the face of the planet, as well as our perspectives of it?


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VanderMeulen works mostly with Unity and Blender software, allowing the artist to sculpt her own three-dimensional objects and build the virtual environment from ‘scratch’. Nonetheless, the artist occasionally uses photographic documentation to texture some of the landscapes, creating a convergence of IRL and born-digital ontologies. Interestingly, rather than engendering an entirely new world for every still or video, VanderMeulen likes to recycle and expand on her previous compositions; and even admits that her Unity scenes are rather chaotic and cluttered.


Credit: @softer.insta and @dianalynnvdm


“I've always felt that I kind of work best when I'm really surrounded by what I'm working on. Like whether it is collage or a digital piece, it really doesn't work for me to just have nothing around me or a clean slate. […] I find comfort surrounding myself in what I've already made.”


Diana Lynn VanderMeulen


Credit: @softer.insta and @dianalynnvdm


It seems as though VanderMeulen particularly values the metaphysical opportunities presented in three-dimensional technologies — the ability to generate a truly living ecosystem that will behave and perform in a certain way without having to constantly intervene. After all, once you specify all the physics and other necessary parameters for, say, a water asset, it will continue splashing, splotching and re-generating its coordinates based on set mathematical algorithms, perpetually. Or at least until the user decides to undermine its metaphysical conditions by closing the Unity software.


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For more information on the artist, please visit https://www.dlvdm.ca or @dianalynnvdm (Instagram). To enquire about the works, which exist in their native digital form and as giclee prints on epson hot press, please visit https://skyfinefoods.com/shimmer-of-a-petal or @skyfinefoods (Instagram).

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