The events that mattered most this year were mainly internal ones. Not that I did not get public attention, such as at the First Integral Art Show in Sonoma College, CA, and a two-person show at the Rockport Art Association, Rockport, MA, which paired a colleague's photography with my painting. But the important step forward had to do with deeper insight into my own creative process.
This is documented in an interview about my work by Martin Ray, a local historian, which can be downloaded at the link below. The interview documents my habitual crossing of boundaries conventions upholds between visual media -- painting, drawing, photography . The interview confirmed for me the permeability of the boundaries typically drawn between the visual arts, if not of all arts (whereby I think of visual music animations that combine music, poetry, and image sequences).
Two insights from this year's work stand out for me: (1) I realized that color can be overbearing, smothering shapes and texture, and as a result opened up work in black and white, both in drawing and abstract photography. I also started to blend colors more carefully, a resource in my painting program (Studio Artist) that I had neglected. (2) I took first steps toward working with history sequences functioning as "algorithms", applying them to work other than the one by which they were established. (Technically, this is made possible by recording, naming, and storing, action steps.)
As to the cultural environment, there is continuing resistance in the field of photography to new, non-representational ways of creating photographic effects, especially when these are claimed to be independent of what the real world tends to look like. As this shows, Moholy-Nagy's work is still undervalued. Defensive drawing of boundaries and associated political posturing certainly do not encourage the public to learn more about the boundless possibilities of digital art.
2014 was a momentous year for my visual art making. I curated my first exhibition, called PIXEL REVOLUTION, at Rocky Neck Art Colony and Cape Ann Community Cinema, Gloucester, MA (June). In this show, I brought together 20 abstract works from the US, Canada, and Israel half of which were either animation stills or were based on animation stills as their source. Since four of the artists represented were also composers/animators, CACC showed a selection of their work during a separate event, a stunning show of visual music that was repeated on November 15, 2014.
This year, I partook in a large number of fine art shows, including one at the Beaumont Art League, Texas. I also presented 18 works in a solo show at the Newburyport Firehouse Gallery (September-October) and obtained an award for excellence in photography from Rockport Art Association, Section Photography.
In the new works I created in 2014, the partition between photography and painting, intrinsically fuzzy for me since I work from photographic negatives, was enriched by the emergence of works I would consider drawings. For this reason, the viewer will find on this site 4 portfolios: drawings, paintings, photography, and animations.
My reflections on my own art making were much deepened by presenting, and commenting on, a premiere of my prose poems of 1988, influenced by poet Charles Olson, which is based on editing output from a probabilistic sentence generator programmed by me. In these poems, I adopted the compositional approach long exercised in my music, of working with software as an Alter Ego.
The "algorithmic" thinking that I have adopted in my art making is detailed in two new entries on this site: the Ebook Fifty Years of Algorithmic Composition and the essay on Permeable Boundaries (see the links below). Both texts shed light the creative process in the strict sense that, in my thinking, transcends conventional boundaries between the arts.
My visual work in 2013 has been greatly expanded both through successful exhibitions and new photographs and paintings. I have learned a lot from preparing a show of digital imagery deriving from well-known animators such as Dennis Miller, Sylvia Pengilly and others, but also from digital painters like H. J. Kropp (Germany). I intend to curate a show of these for me influential works for the Rocky Neck Art Colony, Gloucester, MA, USA, in May of 2014.
Some of my work has earned honorable mention. My digital photography “Intrusion”, on display in the Second Summer Show at the Rockport Art Association, has won first Prize for Excellence in Photography although no physical camera was involved. In addition, I have hung a first solo show of my work at the Gloucester Stage Company (June 21 and July 14 of 2013).
Overall, my artistic process has been focused not on animations per se but on digital paintings, most of which use animation stills as a color template and shape template for new work. I have also experimented with animation stills as layers in complex paintings, with limited success.
Most recently, I have created a series of animation stills all using the same basic parameters in order to evolve and refine a single image. This kind of work tends toward the photographic rather the painterly, since my animation software, Cinema 4D, excels in providing digital tools for constructing shapes and outlines which can be positioned against each other in multiple ways. These shapes and outlines often carry images taken from my previous work, which thus keeps multiplying itself in unforeseen and astounding ways.
I now constantly go back and forth between a painting program (Studio Artist), an animation program (Cinema 4D), and Photoshop. These three sets of tools provide an immensely fruitful way of communication between colors, shapes, textures and backgrounds.
I am beginning to get a feel and understanding of my personal “style” in the visual medium.