Fine Art and Technology in the 21ST Century: Leaders of Innovation
A select group of artists who led the Electronic Art Revolution of the 20th century and who continue to amaze and capture the imagination of art critics and viewers as we enter the 21st century.
Reflections in a Pond © 1997 George Cramer
Exhibit at The Williams Gallery
8 Chambers Street, Princeton NJ
Illuminated Turing Machine II © 1994 Roman Verostko
In 1911 Wassily Kandinsky , in his introduction to his treatise on symbolism in color and form, wrote "Every work of art is the child of its age" and "Every artist, as child of his age, is impelled to express the spirit of his age". The current exhibit presents a selection of works by three artists who have emerged as "children" of the Electronic Age. Featured artists are George Cramer, Susumu Endo, and Roman Verostko. Each of the artists employs a different approach, a different aesthetic and a different use of the computer in the creation of his art. Each of the artists demonstrates not only a mastery of the medium they have chosen to use, but a clear vision of moral and social implications in a age of rapidly changing technology. Their unique ability to employ the traditional mediums of drawing, painting or photography in their work and further enhance the esthetic and meaning of the images through the use of the computer creates an exciting preview of the art of the 21st century.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
GEORGE CRAMER, in a exhibit in 1987 was among the first curators of and participants in a "Computer Art" exhibit sponsored by The University of Wisconsin in Madison. The show was titled "CRASH". "CRASH" was the acronym for the focus of the exhibition: ComputeR-AssiSted Hardcopy. The major idea of the event was to provide a look at experienced artists who were then using the computer as an important tool in their work, with an interest in realizing it in some permanent, stable, and material form. This thematic of preserving lasting images might also be related to the idea of a computer crash , thereby losing important data. Two of the artists works ,Cramer and Verostko, are included in the current show. Susumu Endo was an early leader in digital photography in Japan.
Cramer now heads the art and 3-D Imaging department at the University of Wisconsin. As an educator and leader in the school of visual arts in the field of art and computer technology he has seen, over the last several decades, the emergence of a "new aesthetic" . Work on display will include examples of much earlier work done with the help of an early Amiga 2500 computer and with the earliest ink-jet printer - a Xerox 4020 - now long extinct. Newer images have been created with some of todays most sophisticated hardware and software.
Of his work Cramer says, "I try to define Art in our culture with each piece that I do . I use computer technology because that technology allows me to bring forward the ancient genetic codes into today's climate of power and change. I am making Art because I have to. I have seen "too much now" to not care if beauty and kindness are left behind by our developing technically oriented culture".
SUSUMU ENDO was born in Kofu, Japan in 1933 and received his art education at the Kuwasawa Design School. He has been called mysterious, a conjurer, a magician. His photographic images seem not of this world, but employ a skill and beauty that challenge our sense of reality. After years of use of manual photographic techniques, in 1982 Endo began allowing a computer system to aid in the technically complex task of creating his photographic works. In discussing his artistic process he says:
"My basic concept of design is space and space.: I feel there are different levels of consciousness that we can have of space, all coexisting. This is the concept that drives all the work I create. My main theme is the relationship of two different dimensions in space: the real and the imaginary. I feel a strong image can give us entrance to the other, unseen world. Though I work more on computers these days, the fundamental attitude to my creation has been pretty much the same as it was in the non-digital age. The reason why I stick with non-digital ways of thinking is because it can interact with my body and soul much more smoothly and naturally. But at the same time, I'm eager to take advantage of the latest technology and media for creation. What I'm always trying to do is to explore a new relationship with emerging media. And the exploration continues as confirming the origin of my artistic expressions".
Mr. Endo has won numerous awards throughout the world including the USA, Japan, India, Ukraine, Spain, Bulgaria, Poland and Norway. His work graces many corporate and museum collections such as The British Museum, London, Sao Paulo Art Museum, Brazil, (3) National Museums in Poland, Ibiza Contemporary Art Museum, Spain and Bhart Bhavan Roopankar Art Museum, India.
ROMAN VEROSTKO, artist, historian, and MCAD Professor Emeritus, was born in 1929 at Tarrs Pennsylvania (USA). As a child he made his first paintings using a mail-order paint set. Today his studio includes a network of computers coupled to pen plotters driven with his own original software. By 1987 he created the world's first software driven "brushed" paintings with oriental brushes mounted on his pen plotter. His studio integrates coded digital procedure with fine arts traditions.
Trained as an abstract painter, Verostko continued his artistic work during his service as a Benedictine Monk at St. Vincents Archabbey (1959-68), and his residency and visiting professorship in China. During the last 15 years he has expanded his artistic medium to incorporate the use of the computer in the creation of his work. To achieve effects unique to his style, he has composed software programs to drive a pen plotter and in 1994 was recipient of the Golden Plotter First Prize (Gladbeck, Germany). He has published many articles and lectured internationally on the subject of "Art and Algorithm".
Verostkos describes his unique plotter paintings as "aesthetic manifestations of the spiritual, the visual , and the intellectual". Over the years his software has evolved by stages to yield a series of works for each stage . The works currently on display are selected from his Pathway, Gaia, Apocalypse and Ezekiel plotter paintings. A combination of watercolor inks applied using plotter pens and paint brushes and lastly, gold leaf applied by hand, produce the finished work. The quality of an illuminated manuscript is produced with the language of the algorithmic shapes evocative of text.
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