My visual artwork is concerned with the origins of organic patterns, shapes and lifeform designs. I am curious about our innate capacity to recognize some forms in nature as living beings and not others.  What stimulates our creature recognition circuits?  How do we perceive that something is alive if we have never seen it before?  Why do certain forms inspire emotional responses such as fear, curiosity, awe, pleasure or revulsion? 

	Humans seem to be able to predict potential for motion in any given shape. What causes us to read simple marks on paper or canvas as having rhythm, balance, movement, weight, dimension, density or meaning?  How is it that we ascribe dynamic attributes to certain letter forms such as cursive or STATIC?  What design elements seem natural or artificial?  Where is the boundary between random disorganization and pattern recognition?  My art is an attempt to explore and express some answers to these distinctly morphological questions. 

	I use many media in my work, including drawing, pen and ink, colored pencils, calligraphy, acrylic painting and airbrush, photography, xerox copiers and computer imaging.  My background includes training in modern dance and choreography, calligraphy, painting and scientific illustration.  I love to play music and have recorded a CD performing on Baroque Lute with Mouth Harp.  I am currently working on an album for alto 12-string guitar & Japanese Shakuhachi flute.  I have 35 years professional experience in the private practice of Structural Integration, also known as "Rolfing", where I learned to work with the human body as a plastic medium that can be creatively re-structured in the field of Gravity.  I am field-trained in Paleontology, with 20 years experience as a published researcher and staff senior excavator in the Pleistocene-age fossil deposits known as the La Brea Tar Pits at the Page Museum in Los Angeles, California.

	Natural selection has left us with a small cross-section of life forms from all those which are possible.  Theoretical morphologists predict many alternate design possibilities.  Where are they?    Our space program's quest for extraterrestrial life and the popularity of aliens and dinosaurs speak to our driving desire to discover and experience them all.  Advances in modern biochemistry and genetics are giving us the exciting potential to create new forms of life.  We may soon be able to replace lost and extinct species, constructively contribute to nature's biodiversity and create the Gardens of Eden all of life so richly deserves.  With these ideas in mind I meditate on the principles underlying biology, biomechanics, cellular design and evolution.  I hope my artistic output can help stimulate our awareness of life's potential and inspire ongoing exploration in the incipient field of creative morphology.   

Richard F.Wheeler
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