Friday, March 19, 2010

About Art and Technology

I hear some disapproval about the use of technology in art. Rational thinking (my own, of course) postulates that the computer with its software and the printer with its inks are tools as much as anything else we might use. Some of the paints I work with are made of modern synthetic pigments. They are intense, clean, clear colors with unpronounceable names. Mark Rothko bought paint made with non-permanent dyes, guaranteed to fade, from Woolworth’s, to achieve the intensity of color he wanted. The Rothko mural that hung in the library at Yale looked like my bedsheets after some years went by, the original beautiful color gone forever. The archival printing inks we use now will last longer than the paints he used. Longer even than some contemporary paints.

Technology has transformed music, made movie and theater experiences surreal, caused great innovations in architecture and influenced the arts in ways most of us are still amazed by. It can transform the artist into a magician.

I like to paint “pieces”, rectangles and squares and stripes of color using a variety of media. I make these on paper and then assemble them into paintings by adhering the pieces to canvas or board. I scan or photograph some of the painted pieces, manipulate the image on my computer and print these images. This adds to the riches I can choose from as I search for exactly the right piece of color, texture and “feel” to resolve a collage painting. If the tools I use had been available to Rothko, Picasso and Michelangelo, I know they would have used them without apology.

The image above is Antares, acrylic and mixed media collage on archival board, 25 x 25", 2007.  For information about any of the paintings seen on this site please email Joan.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe it's just the circle I tend to interact with, but my feeling is that people are becoming more comfortable with the idea of computers and printers being used to create art, as they themselves become more comfortable with the technology in their own lives.

    I used to use color photocopies for the raw material of my work, and sometimes felt insecure about that (this being before the computer). In the end, I discovered people often actually found that interesting. Joseph Cornell used photostats of pictures from the NY Public Library archives as the basis for many of his constructions. Of course, there will always be some people for whom "art" will never be anything other than a painting on canvas, preferably executed in oils and of a recognizable representational image. Their loss.