Jackson Pollack, Gerard Richter, Mark Rothko… a computer? It might sound crazy, but the next great abstract painter could be entirely 1s and 0s. At least, digital artist Siebren Versteeg is exploring this idea with his most recent work: a series of "paintings" (or images that look like paintings) generated entirely by computer algorithm.
Versteeg writes computer code based off of observed principles of abstract paintings. This code is interpreted by a computer which then begins to generate a picture, one layer at a time. At random intervals the computer will export a copy of itself, one of which Versteeg selects to be printed on to a canvas. In a video interview with Essl Museum, Versteeg explains, "Variables like the color of the paint, the viscosity of the paint, the way that the pigment sticks into the binder, the substrate, the drippiness of the paint—those are all variables that I've built logic systems [for] that calculate and decide how those [variables] might appear in a compositional matrix." The end result is a series of artworks with an uncanny resemblance to some of the abstract paintings one might find hanging in any modern art gallery or museum.
This series of paintings is only his latest comment on contemporary image production and distribution—an issue that has concerned Versteeg's work for much of his career. In previous works, Versteeg has programmed machines that display world news headlines in the Coca-Cola slogan, sketch random Google Image results for "Satan," and generate an all-consuming digital American flag. In regards to digital art, Versteeg states, "Digital art doesn't have any implicit form. It assumes sound, or, it assumes video, or, it assumes, right, photography. It's sort of eating, or re-contextualizing… digitizing other forms that we understand as art making."
Versteeg's work is currently on display at The Lodge Gallery in New York until July 28th.
For more on computer-assisted art, check out our video profile on Harvey Moon below…
[via Beautiful Decay]