Marte Newcombe: Soothsayers

  • ©, Marte Newcombe







    2D imaging


    20" x 26"


Artist Statement:

    The sources for my digital work begin as three-dimensional welded sculptures that I create from found metal objects such as machine parts and tools. By assembling and welding these elements, I seek to create new forms that no longer serve their intended function but hint at the mechanics of our bodies and by extension, human emo­tions. It was of particular interest to combine the physical aspects of machines and tools (extensions of human engineering functions) with the intellectual aspects of the computer as a reference to the brain. In building sculptures, I strive to create new works by obfuscating some of my existing works, which provide feelings of both familiarity and strangeness.

    The original source for Soothsayers was a welded metal sculpture called Soothsayer which I created as part of a series called Alley Wishes. The series was based loosely on a daring escape my father made from a POW camp in Germany during World War II. The sculp­tures depicted the characters he met on his way, some real and some imaginary. In the digital work, I created two additional charac­ters based on the original and placed them in a hostile environment. I also used NASA satellite images and robotic parts.

Technical Information:

    The image of the sculpture was scanned and then manipulated and reproduced in several iterations in Photoshop. Some images were satellite images and scientific diagrams from NASA. such as screen shots from a monitoring system in an old attached shuttle payload mission, including a fish-eye view out of the space shuttle cargo bay showing instrument fields of view and an ASCII text spacecraft te­lemetry screen. Several components were made by my collaborator, Greg Shirah, using mathematical algorithms. Mathematical functions were used to produce complex, intricate, organic-looking pieces that are abstract and yet familiar. Proceduralism derived from functions such as parametric and differential equations aids the generation of the gross shapes using custom-scripted form-generation code. Proceduralism also provides a means for generating fine detail and texture using genetic and fractal-based algorithms in the shader code.