Lot Essay Auriea Harvey creates born-digital sculptures of characters that live inside the worlds and mythologies she alters. Minoriea Bust V1 is one of these characters, portrayed as a fantastic torso constructed through a detailed process of 3D scanning and rigorous digital construction. Self-portraiture is an inherent feature within this digital sculpture, as all works include data captured by the artist herself. This reflective process offers Harvey the opportunity to interject her personal history as a descendent of the African Diaspora into classical, Western narratives: synthesizing analog and digital elements together in an effort to unify relics with emergent technology.
Auriea Harvey’s (b. 1971) work combines digital and physical processes to create sculptures in physical space and mixed reality. Drawing from her extensive experience in net art and video games in the collaborative groups Entropy8Zuper!, Tale of Tales and Song of Songs, she brings personal narratives and character development to her sculptures. Harvey begins her sculptural process by making scans from life. These scans mutate as they are combined with others from her extensive library: 3D models based on her own clay sculptures, works of imagination digitally sculpted and artworks encountered in museums. The works draw heavily from Hellenistic art, not only through the appropriation of forms, but also using its ethos of syncretism as a way of working.
The amalgamated elements are sculpted within 3D modeling software. As Harvey molds the works, she also molds characters each with their own narratives. Each nexus of elements produces several sculptures; Harvey continues reconfiguring the pieces until the character’s story is complete. She filters well-known narratives through her own retellings. Indeed, this digital assemblage process is finished by applying a variety of physical, organic elements to the 3D prints. They are often complemented by AR sculptures, which bridge the gap between the digital and physical, the possible and impossible.
Harvey sifts through artifacts of Western culture to find herself and traces of her African American diasporic lineage. These objects are hybrid products, made in Western Europe but borrowing from its colonies. Her sculptures make her influences evident and she fuses them with her own creations to reinvent, reinterpret and retell new narratives.
The artist’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, MUDAM Luxembourg and Rhizome’s Net Art Anthology. Her videogames and VR works have had international success, including exhibitions at the Tinguely Museum, Basel; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the New Museum, New York; Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York; and ZKM, Karlsruhe. Harvey is the recipient of a Creative Capital grant and a winner of the Independent Games Festival Nuovo Award. She is represented by bitforms gallery.