The Art of Natural Geometry
Artist Michael Wisner replicates textures he finds in nature in his work
THE ARTIST Michael Wisner
LEARNING FROM A MASTER “I went to L.A. because they were having a summer of Native pottery classes, and I was able to have contact with these amazing matriarchs of Southwest pottery. They were all talking about Juan Quezada, this guy in Mexico with this self-taught genius that they had so much reverence for. So, after that summer, I jumped in my truck and drove to his house. And he let me stay for a week. We developed an amazing friendship, and I went back—over a period of 18 years I spent over two years at his house.”
OLD AND NEW “My interest became, how do I really have a voice from my culture, and from my contemporary position in the world, and how do I take something old and something new and amalgamate these two worlds together? That’s where I peeled off into this texturing, because I love Escher kinds of patterns, and I love geometry.”
PATTERNS OF NATURE “I started really paying attention to texture patterns—like the calyx of a flower, or the pattern of a ponderosa pine, or sea coral, or fish scales. I decided to make tools that I could actually press what I had seen in nature and replicate it in the studio. I use old pieces of hacksaw blades, scrap metal, and grind those into the different dimensions.”
GEOMETRY WITHIN US “My feeling is we have these certain things as humans that we resonate with, whether it’s harmonics in music or these intense geometric patterns; they’re an external mirror of something that’s already harmonizing within us. Our smallest building blocks, atoms and molecules, are geometric by nature; DNA has a spiral pattern—there’s a lot of intelligent geometry in nature, and we are that geometry.”
NEXT Wisner is planning a new series of cast-ceramic wall panels with patterns inspired by nature.