John Derrick ‘3D Virtual Doppelgänger’

November 1 – 30, 2013

3D Virtual Doppelgänger is a multi-media installation by John Derrick that combines figurative oil painting with an interactive 3D computer-generated game environment. An oil painting on canvas is displayed alongside its projected 3D computer-generated replica, the 3D Virtual Doppelgänger. Derrick’s subjects are figures in interiors. He paints from life using colourful and gestural brushstrokes forming a textured surface on the canvas. He then proceeds to digitise the textures of the oil paint and incorporates it into a 3D computer-generated game environment and thus the hand-painted brushstroke is retained.

The user can interact with the 3D Virtual Doppelgänger via a computer-controlled motion sensor. The user can control the movements of the figure and interact with objects in the scene. The aim of the installation is to compare and contrast traditional oil painting with interactive 3D computer-generated virtual environments. How does new technology influence traditional painting practices? Can they coexist in a peaceful symbiotic relationship?  Is engagement with the hand-painted object of more importance because we live in a time where we are increasingly engaging with each other via a computer screen?  Finally, the user can interact with the 3D Virtual Doppelgänger and thus become an active participant in the artwork.

Derrick was awarded a PHD at RMIT University in 2010. His research explored the intersection between oil painting and 3D computer-generated game environments. He was awarded a Samstag Scholarship in 1998 and spent two years studying at Pratt Institute in New York. He is also an independent curator and was the visual arts curator of the “Dark Luminance” exhibition exploring real and virtual gallery environments. The exhibition travelled to New York in 2008 and Melbourne in 2009. Joe Bendik for the Chelsea Clinton Press in New York wrote about the exhibition, “sometimes I encounter an exhibition that is so overwhelming, covers so much territory and breaks so much new ground, it is difficult to write about”.