Thursday, February 21, 2013

Michael Ferrari-Fontana virtual gallery and museum tour

I think that it's a fair guess that most artist have walked through galleries and great museums and wondered what their work would look like hanging there in stead. Though I've spent the majority of my career doing very representational, commercial works, I've spent a considerable amount of time in the museum trade and, have created meticulously detailed pieces for fine artist's exhibits in major galleries and museums as well. I've always had a deep interest and love for fine art, especially abstraction. For some time now, I've had the thought of building a virtual museum in Sketchup and populating it with my works. I would then render an animation of a virtual walk through, each gallery within the museum representing a different facet of my work.

Though I'm in love with my tiny apartment in which every wall is covered from floor to ceiling, I lust for the sprawling simplicities and elegance in which a large wall in an heroically proportioned room is dedicated to a singular focus thus commanding the wall, and presenting itself as a key component in the creation of a unique environment.
For these studies, I went on line, looking for the best shots of galleries and museums that I could find and swapped the art therein with mine. In this I set out to hang 50 pieces in 20 galleries.
Almost all photos distort a painting or mural by means of perspective and lens angle. All of the replacement art must accurately mimic the afore mentioned distortion in order to be convincing.
People within the shots lend greater credence to the illusion and immediately illustrate scale and captivated interaction. In a few of these shots the original art work was reflected in the floor. For those photos, the reflections were replaced and further the authenticity of the effect.
I found this to be an enormously inspiring and liberating exercise on a number of levels. My abstractions have till now only been seen within the context of my computer screen and a few moderately sized prints. With an investment of very little time this experiment allowed me to visualize my recent works in a way that my reality couldn't currently afford.
As a proof of concept, this study has given me the confidence to move forward on the construction of a 3d model of a small museum and populate it with my work. It has also reacquainted me with the spacial demands that works of a certain scale require in order to be in harmony with the room, it's audience and it's accompanying pieces.
When the model is complete it will be brought into an architectural rendering program that is similar to certain gaming engines. This will allow the viewer to enjoy an interactive virtual walk through and see the works form any angle, perspective or, sequence they choose.
In the end, it is my hope that this will serve as an interactive reel. A reel that is not so much played form beginning to end but, played with in any way the viewer wishes.

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