About the Artist

Joshua Hale is a creative professional from Texas, currently living in Langley, BC, Canada. He is Assistant Professor and Chair of Art + Design at Trinity Western University.

Having professional and educational experience in both the design and studio art realms, he sees his work through a cross-disciplinary lens, identifying as an art and design educator, studio artist, and designer. This unique combination of experience has allowed him to explore the ways in which these areas interrelate.

His research interests are similarly united by an exploration of the overlaps and hybrid areas that exist between concepts, such as art, design, language, cultural identity, human systems, and nature. He is also interested in the exploration of creative thinking processes, creative problem solving techniques, and design methodologies, which has led him to infuse several of these tools and processes into his studio work, as well as into the academic environment.

About the Work

Nature, like language and other complex systems, can be understood as a vast collection of individual parts. Just as we use punctuation and grammar to control language, we attempt to control nature by rearranging its parts.

My recent work is a visual exploration into this process of deconstructing complex systems, both human and natural, and what happens when our rigid categories begin to merge, cluster, and dissolve.

When grappling with the troubled relationship between humanity and nature, we are often presented with the notion that human systems and natural systems are mutually exclusive and incompatible. However, we easily forget that humans are deeply connected to the natural world, bound by the same natural laws and organic processes as everything else. Even the most advanced man-made objects are mere rearrangements of materials taken from nature; nothing is ever fully man-made.

With this in mind, I question whether the extreme conceptual barriers we place between humanity and nature might be preventing productive dialogue. Working against this binary tendency, my work intentionally blurs the boundaries between what it means to be human and what it means for something to be "natural", creating a space where human perspectives and natural forms are freely allowed to coexist, play, and intermingle.

Unlike using a scientific approach, where experiments are based on a predetermined rational hypothesis, my work embraces a creative approach, yielding results that are often wild and unpredictable. Many of the most groundbreaking insights in human history have been the result of accidents and unforeseeable connections. With this in mind, like a haphazard laboratory or workshop, my work creates a space where science and mystery are allowed to coexist, and our fixed boundaries, definitions, and categories become fluid.

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