steve newberry

It is my belief that human beings have an innate desire to be connected to nature. With this in mind I am interested in how one responds to this day in age in which our world has become increasingly urbanized. How do we compensate for the loss of natural habitat? While our everyday experience of “biological nature” may be decreasing, our desire to appropriate it and allude to it is not. Replicas, reminders, and simulacra of the natural world replace the actual thing. Witness for example floral patterned wallpaper, or chewing gum brands that use ‘icy’ or ‘frosty’ imagery, or the pine tree air fresheners one can purchase for their car. I am interested in this natural/artificial disconnect - the distance between the emulated and the emulation.

My work often takes this disconnect and pushes it to an extreme level. In doing so it questions not only our own relationship to the natural environment, but further questions our motives behind the representation of nature, seen through the lenses of both art and popular culture.

Recently I have become interested in exploring the space where the utilitarian object and the art object collide, making works that are equally as comfortable in the furniture/design world as they are in the art world.  Like a hardwood floor that was once a standing forest, the art I create often directly draws from or refers to the natural environment, yet still exists as a “functional” entity.  This again explores the natural/artificial disconnect but also brings with it new overlapping dichotomies such as such as indoor vs. outdoor, functional vs. non-functional, and art vs. design.