Recursion is an installation of embossed drawings and cut-vinyl patterns that focuses on the role of visual syntax in giving order to experience. While Natasha Mazurka’s past work involves intricate mappings and biological simulations, the new work in Recursion looks at pattern as a set of instructions and transactional codes.
Mazurka’s work tests the communicative potential of pattern by sampling and combining visual references from diverse disciplines, including digital networks, bioinformatics, sociograms, and science fiction films. In a drawing series titled Index, Mazurka has created a set of rules to generate images. This recursive process drives her application of basic marks: lines, nodes, and dashes. The marks are simple in structure, yet through their manipulation they reference complex concepts, underscoring the elegance of pattern’s ability to transform materially and conceptually with limited means. The series references the ubiquity of pattern languages and their role in creating a sense of order. While Index engages with the aesthetic connectivity amongst disciplines, single works elude a fixed reading.
The presentation of the embossed drawings—centered on individual parchment sheets and organized as an index—alludes to the history of collecting and archiving microscopic and macroscopic phenomena. The drawing process involves embossed marks made by hand, producing a fragile and tactile surface that counteracts the digital and non-material references in the patterns.
Mazurka’s new cut-vinyl patterns explore how the syntax we employ to organize knowledge is a reflection of our thoughts, desires, and anxieties. In the Divide and Conquer Algorithm (2017), the shape of an ornamental dome is described through dashes and dots. The algorithm is used in computer sciences and to translate Morse Code. The dome is based on multi-branch recursion, while the name was derived from military vernacular.
In Ornament is wasted manpower and therefore wasted health (2017), a translated Morse Code excerpt from Adolf Loos’ famous essay, Ornament and Crime (1929), spans the wall in rhythmic notation. For both of the cut-vinyl pieces, the meaning and interpretation of the pattern is fluid and unfixed. Throughout Recursion, both the embossings and vinyl patterns bring out the expansive and transitional character of pattern systems we require to order our experience.
Natasha Mazurka earned an Honours BA from McMaster University and obtained her MFA from Concordia University, where she was the recipient of the J.W. McConnell Fellowship. Recent exhibitions include Recombinant, Prince Takamado Gallery, Japan; Papier Contemporary Art Fair, Montreal; Primer, Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Ottawa; and Natural Motif, Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa. Her work is held in numerous collections including the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, the City of Ottawa’s Fine Art Collection, the Canadian Fine Art Collection of Gotland, Sweden, and in numerous private and corporate collections in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Morocco. She has received grants for creation and production from the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Ottawa, and participated in residencies including the Brucebo Fine Art Fellowship and Residency, Gotland, Sweden; the Vermont Studio Center Painting Fellowship and Residency, Johnson, VT; and a Media Arts Creation Residency from DAïMON, Gatineau, Quebec. Mazurka is the Chair of the Fine Arts Program at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ontario. Natasha Mazurka is represented by Patrick Mikhail Gallery in Montreal and Ottawa.