portrait of courtney

Courtney Egan
b. 1966
New Orleans, Louisiana

Courtney Egan is an interdisciplinary media artist, photographer and amateur naturalist who weaves the tradition of botanical art with sculpture and digital technologies, creating otherworldly projections. Strongly inspired by the profusion of urban flora in New Orleans where she has lived, worked, and taught since 1991, Courtney’s artworks reflect broad concerns about the relationship between human life and the plant world.

Courtney’s primary art practice positions the plant world as an equal cohort to the human world. She creates animated collages that merge timelapse photography with digital image manipulation, creating realistic, yet impossible arrangements. Multiple media such as sculptural 3D elements, animated 3D elements like shadows and textures, as well as depth camera-based interactivity may comprise individual pieces.

Courtney’s ongoing research reveals complex plant histories, plant economics, and lore, and foregrounds the ecology of the natural world in daily life. Learning the ecology of the Gulf South region is an ongoing process for Courtney that informs her artwork. She is a volunteer with the Louisiana Master Naturalists and participates in a community native wildflower meadow with Civic Studio, a New Orleans-based design collaborative.

Her digital blooms recall the long tradition of botanical art. While flower painters of the past illustrated all aspects of a plant’s form as an aesthetic rendering and scientific record, Courtney manipulates digital images of plant life in order to question ways in which technology alters human perceptions and treatment of the natural world. Her animations give viewers a new, mediated experience of plants and asks them to consider the plant world as partners in the stewardship of the earth.

“We get closer, and farther away, from the natural world simultaneously when we experience it through a technological lens.”