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'Reforestation of the Imagination' reveals a hidden world

Seattle Artist's exhibit of traditional sculpture and augmented reality now open at the Smithsonian
Credit: KING 5
A digital flower is revealed while exploring the new exhibit at Seattle's Mad Art Studio.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Imagine a desolate, post-apocalyptic world suddenly springing to life.

That's the experience awaiting you at "Reforestation of the Imagination." The art exhibit is now showing at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. until January 2020.

"Physical sculpture and augmented reality," explained Seattle artist Ginny Ruffner last year when her exhibit was on display at Mad Art Studio.

Ruffner created this dystopian glass art landscape, then worked with digital collaborator Grant Kirkpatrick to create a virtual garden. When a visitor views the work through the camera of an iPhone or iPad, these bleak remains suddenly sprout a world of color and motion.

As a survivor of a serious car crash in the early 90's, Ruffner has learned to overcome every obstacle in the pursuit of joy and beauty, a message reflected in her art.

"The worse it gets, the better the outcome will be," Ruffner said. "The more chance of beauty flourishing."

The flowers grew from the artist's imagination, and each comes with a detailed and whimsical description.

"I believe beauty will triumph over destruction," Ruffner said. "It's the most important thing, to have hope."

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