Phil Samson Studio
Phil Samson Studio

Artist Statement

My art practice is focused on visually stimulating scientific minds with partially abstracted biological shapes.  My goal is to expand creative and innovative capacities of scientific minds as they work to positively impact our future. I currently interact with UNT‘s genetic engineering scientists as they seek to make plants more resilient, useful and bountiful. Using their research, processes, and results to influence my sculpture’s design, I manipulate, massage, and mix contemporary mediums (e.g., acrylic plastic, resin) with traditional sculpture, fiber and painting mediums.

 

My free-standing and wall-based sculptures often have translucent elements that interact vividly with light from the visible and ultraviolet spectrums. These elements are informed by plant genetic engineer’s use of ultraviolet light to illuminate a research specimen’s modified inner structure. Undulation and emergence figures prominently in my artwork as it provides a metaphor of the active living organism coming forth from the genetically altered primordial soup. This undulation is created in acrylic plastic using heat, and in wood using a series of carefully sawed channels. My use of wood, whether the actual material or a woodgrain image, links my artwork to the efforts of the genetic engineering researchers as they alter plant DNA.

 

I closely follow three topics to influence my artwork: the accelerating economic and societal impact and response to climate change and dwindling natural resources, plant genetic engineering advances, and art’s influence on creativity and innovation. This research coalesces into my current focus on the mystery and promise of plant genetic research. Our planet is becoming less accommodating to humans and nature. This creates the need to accelerate plant evolution to deliver resilient and healthier food sources, sustainable materials and energy, and environmental health. While important progress is being made, I believe we are falling further and further behind leading to the fast-approaching extinction of our species. I hope that my sculptures create new synaptic conduits connecting abstract and analytical thinking that activates scientific creativity and innovation.

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