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Darel Carey is a visual artist based in Los Angeles. He served in the US Air Force as an analyst for 11 years, then separated in 2012 to pursue a career in art, graduating from Otis College of Art and Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2016.
His Optical Art (Op Art) includes dimensional line paintings, digital art, murals, and immersive tape installations. Optical and spatial perception are his main focus; he uses lines to shape and bend the perceived dimensions of a surface or a space. Darel has always had an affinity towards spatial perspectives and illusion, and is fascinated by psychology and our visual understanding of the world around us. He is influenced by the work MC Escher, including his geometrical illusions, mathematical patterns, and tessellations.
He explores the emergent effects that come from consistency with slight variation, which is an organic process. From simple lines, complex shapes and spaces can be formed. In this way, Darel sees a strong connection between his art and the patterns of nature, from the beginning of our known universe, to the birth of stars and galaxies, to biological life on Earth, to consciousness and artificial intelligence. He feels that the best imagination comes from the best understanding of reality, and is inspired by the sciences, including the works and writings of cosmologists Lawrence Krauss and Sean Carroll. He appreciates the beauty of emergent properties and systems found in nature, and attempts to embody these attributes in his art.
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A line on its own is simple. When combined with many other lines in a consistent, precise manner, the lines become more than just the lines; as a whole they form something more complex than what they are individually. That is why the organic process of creating these works is integral to what they become. My approach follows a natural process which manifests emergent properties similar to those found in nature, as in complex mobile bodies emerging from clusters of cells, or consciousness which is not physical emerging from the physical brain. In a similar way, several two dimensional lines can imply depth and curvature where they don't actually exist.. but they do exist, in an emergent way. Looking at my work, you can see the curves formed by the way the lines meet at corners, but the lines individually don't know they're part of making these curves, and nothing in each line would indicate a property for making a curve, but together they make the curves anyway. Zooming out and seeing all of them together, you can notice these traits. When creating these works, I think about the big picture and pay attention to the details, and everything in between figures itself out.
In order to use the most simplicity to extract the clearest complexity, I keep certain characteristics of the lines consistent within each work, e.g. all the lines are straight, all the lines are the same width, etc. Keeping these characteristics as simple as possible allows other traits of the arrangement to be prominent. Rather than changing the thickness of a line to imply depth, I alter the distance between lines. Gradual change with time creates a harmonious, natural pattern, and is important for the perceived dimensional experience to take effect. My art compels you to look at a surface or a space differently, to contemplate your own perception and the environment around you. I find simplicity creating complexity a beautiful thing and something profound to think about. It informs my philosophy on life, and on the nature of the universe.
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