Electrical Synthesis – the work of James Clar


Orchid (2012), 70 X 55 X 55 cm – Fluorescent Lights, Filters, Metal, Rubber, and 3d Printed Orchid


Orchid (detail)

(Images taken from; http://www.jamesclar.com/portfolio_page/orchid-2012/)

The work of James Clar caught my attention a few days ago, when stumbling across the piece ‘Render(tree)’ on the instagram account ‘@postmatter’. The piece explores notions of technology changing the physical realm that we live in, and how the line seems to become more and more blurred as our technology rapidly increases in development and intelligence. The piece ‘orchid’ consists of a rubber-cast, 3d-printed model of an orchid, suspended in between a triangular ‘frame’ of LED lights. the effect that is produced tricks the eyes of the viewer into believing that the ‘orchid’ is floating within the space; almost as if it is a hologram, and is being ‘brought into existence’ by the lights surrounding it. This idea of ‘synthesised growth’ is something that I considered within my own work; due to the nature f the crystals growing in a ‘synthesised’ way. I considered incorporating some form of artificial lighting into the piece, so that it would add a layer of ‘synthesis’ within the piece; almost like a ‘process’ of creation being inherent within the sculpture’s base form.



Rain Under Lamppost (2014) -Projector, Mini PC

(image taken from; http://www.jamesclar.com/portfolio_page/rain-under-lamppost-2014/)

The main draw of Clar’s work for me is his ability to re-create natural phenomena, such as light, growth, and even events such as rain, and recreate them through the use of technology. I believe that technology is a means to ascend humanity higher, and is our own way of creating a ‘stairway to the heavens’.  In ‘Rain under lamppost’, Clar has created a projection that emulates the effect of rain in a beam of light, when shone down, against a wall. This piece is so interesting, due to the fact that the colour scheme is off, and doe snot resemble the light of a lamppost; insteadconsisting of a different light, that of the projector. The use of strange coloured lights within Clar’s work highlights the inherent ‘artificial’ aspects of the work, and showcases a world that we are heading towards at a strangely quick pace. A world where technology rules and nature is the minority, would be a world unlike anything we have ever seen before; Clar hopes to show us a small glimpse of what this world would be like, through his art.


Render(Tree); (2016) – artificial tree, rubber, paint, metal, led lights, filters


‘Render(tree);’ (detail)

(images taken from; http://www.jamesclar.com/portfolio_page/rendertree/)

‘A freestanding sculptural work representing nature rendered as a holographic simulation.’ is what is said about this work on Clar’s website, and the merging of nature and technology both fascinates, and terrifies me. This piece; ‘Render(tree)’ gives the illusion, once more, that the lighted frame around the plant is what is causing it to come into existence; almost as if the frame, much like a God, is able to bring matter into being. Once more, the colour of the plant, and the colour of the light, makes the ‘organic being’ appear un-natural and plastic, and yet, due to the colours reflected onto it (the blue and yellow), it seems to almost be made of the light that is surrounding it. This piece is amazing, and the ‘synthetic process’ that it seems to show (the growth of matter through technological and artificial light), is fascinating to me, especially in comparison to my own work into synthesis of precious crystals.


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