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"my search for a classical form in the emerging medium of digital art" - harvey rayner

Archive for the ‘Conceptual Art’ Category

Compound Composition (Art of Marriage)

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

Compound Art

Sometimes composing a picture may take weeks, months and sometimes even years. Other times a new distinct composition is born from a simple act of match making. Within my body of work I find certain compositions like people compliment and enhance each other and work together as a single unit. The old proverb that ‘opposites attract’ also seems to have some truth when marrying visual elements as it does with people.

Cezanne’s dying words were reported to be ‘All lies in contrast’. I’d say this is a pretty good place to start for any aspiring artist looking to find his/her own voice. Bringing together contrasting elements still forms the meat and two veg activity of all my work. The of contrasting represented in this work is an example at one end of a scale: contrasting a straight line with a curve to form part of a new motif might be an example at the other. For me the best unions in art are the one’s made in complete certainty and with the least fuss.

Domain Stretching And Parabolic Tensile Print Art

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

Tensile Skin Print Art

Parabolic Spandex Print Art

For many years I have racked my brain trying to conceive a way of bringing Root2Art into a big gallery space. Or to put it another way, into the domain of ‘serious’ art – something self contained and able to work well within a public space. For me, there is a fundamental purity in a flat 2D image hanging on a flat 2D wall, but there is also conversely an inherent lack of dynamics in this arrangement. I think this is partly why we see so much sculpture in many of the big galleries now. Big white bare rooms need art that activates the space they contain in order to make the ‘gallery’ work.

My own method of working has been grounded in 2D geometry for many years now and in my own estimation, my sculpture output lacks the integrity of my 2D compositional work for this reason. I therefore have had a problem in realising my work in a dynamic way in 3D space. But maybe, there is a very simple solution I have been overlooking.

The idea came from my current investigations into Analysis and Number Theory of which I am proving to be a keen, but slow student. I was reading about ‘domain stretch’ which is an idea in mathematics that I’ve kinda been thinking about for many years in just an intuitive and abstract way though my artistic/geometric language. To the Artist, who like the rest of us is apparently stuck in these three visible dimensions of space, the 2D surface has a particularly significant status. It represents a means of expressing the world that is beyond the limitations of three dimensions: the world of emotion, realisation and abstract thought. In mathematics however, we have a multi dimensional universe of which 2 dimensions is just one facet. When we move from flat two dimensional space in mathematics into the concepts of topology or hyperbolic space for instance we find new and powerful tools to describe the world. From a mathematics point of view the notion that notion that a 2D surface is ‘fundamentally’ flat is only true within certain sets of limits.

But this is not all. Digital wide format printing on modern fabrics offers the artist new possibilities to re-investigate the 2D surface. Taking the conventional stretched canvas as a starting point, how do we ‘stretch its domain’ both in terms of its physical properties and symbolism into the 21st Century? Into the contemporary big gallery art arena?

In terms of stretching any membrane surface, one way to evenly distribute the stretching and thus increase the limits of the material is through double curvature. If you have ever looked closely at modern architecture that uses tensile fabric you will notice that the fabric in never stretch in a flat plain like with a stretch art canvas. The fabric forms always contain double opposing curvatures. This is the most efficient way to evenly distribute the stresses in the material and thus create the greatest stability in a skinned structure. The actually forms that have evolved out of this engineering science have great beauty which is a reflection of their great structure integrity.

So I say, why not apply this same treatment to the conventional stretched picture canvas. My feeling about my work being applied to a parabolic surface in this way is that the underlying geometry is not corrupted, but rather the domain of the geometry is expanded. With this simple arrangement above, when the compositions are view orthogonally from the from, they appear square. Excluding the effects of perspective, all the geometry is persevered as if on a flat surface from this view. When one moves around the surfaces then the stretching becomes apparent and the information is thus expanded – its domain stretched.


A Custom Picture Frame For A New Sophisticated Breed Of Digital Art

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

New Custom Picture Frame Design

this variation on my original node frame should provide a more robust seal around the print and also have the capacity to take thicker print mounts, even stretched canvases.

i’m thinking about building a new shop on a different domain to sell my work in these frames. this site is really the complete online manifestation of my output and has a strong ‘digital arts’ theme. people are not buying digital art like they buy paintings. partly because of the immature nature of a lot of digital art on the net. saying this however, i do feel that the best of the digital art out there is the most pioneering, intelligent and exciting art being made today in any medium. of course i would say this:)

so digital art is, more often than not, immature as an art form – what do i mean by this? the digital art market is immature with few if any tested models for serious artists exploring the medium to sell their work through. digital art is rarely seen in the serious commercial galleries and art fairs. there exists no established place where art buyers go to look for real investment in serious digital artists. doesn’t count LOL
by definition there cannot be an established outlet of this nature being as digital art is not yet established itself within the wider art world.

there is also the question of mature subject matter and themes for digital art. a lot of digital art is woefully puerile in it subject matter. you now the sort of thing: fantasy art, erotic art and the crude post processing of bad digital photography. this 21st Century digital folk art is really just the product of the first generation of net users who were predominantly techies and had to be techies in order to manipulate the software. it isn’t that techies are any less creative than your average painting artist. there is a lot of techy art on the net that has just as much compositional invention and strength as the sort of painted art people are paying big bugs for in Cork Street. Its just that artist working within conventional mediums have an almost infinitely rich pool of artistic language and subject matter to draw upon that has evolved over many centuries. modern painters may not like to concede that they are repeating anything that has been done in the last century, but the languages and themes of modern painting are now so thoroughly ingrained in our culture that a painter can use them like an english poetry uses the english language. a poetry does not have to reinvent his core language to make his statement. he couldn’t better the fundamentals of the language if he tried. we can modify the superficial character of the language, but 99% of the vocabulary and grammar is universally understood and can not be improved upon by one individual. the vocabulary and grammar of painting is also effortless used by painters and there is little radical innovation at this level left to be explored. digital art however is only just beginning to find its own inherent grammatical structures that will evolve out of the peculiarities of different digital tools. many of the themes seen in the ‘digital folk art’ i have described have been borrowed from the techies sci-fi stimulated childhood imaginations. these are not the themes that will become intrinsic to digital forms as time goes on however. i predict that in the 22nd Century that a mediocre digital artist, like the mediocre painter today, will be able to make art that draws on a rich history of art language and subject matter and make digital imagery that looks to all eyes like ‘sophisticated’ mature art. the craft of digital art making will be universally appreciated and artist will find new ways to make digital art unique works. print technology will evolve and new accepted art objects will become convention. the digital print, in whatever form it takes, will become as ubiquitous and converted as the painted canvas is today. only however, hopefully, it won’t crack, fade or peel like the painted canvas does today after just a few decades.

A Classical Aesthetic For A Digital Age (sketch)

Monday, May 28th, 2007

A Classical Aesthetic For A Digital Age

a sketch from today’s return to making ‘real art’… the blue is not ‘in’, it just shows you what’s what.

this blog has been getting a significant raise in traffic recently. i don’t know if its returning visitors or if it is my articles just being picked up more in the searches. either way this increase in visibility has been in spite of me recently neglecting the ‘real art’ core of this blog. that’s my attempt at regularly updating these pages with new and exciting ‘real digital art’. the last few months have been taken up with work for my pattern project which is really just a stab at gaining broader exposure and maybe some nice cash. its funny, i often get emails from visitors asking how i became an established artist. the truth is i’ve never been financially established. i remain an underground artist and my sales are practically zero. i can only think of 2 pieces i’ve sold in over 10

so anyway, that’s not quite what i had in mind when i started to write this post. i was instead thinking of ‘a classical aesthetic for a digital age’. highly pretentious yes. but somehow this describes what my ‘real art’ output aspires to find. i feel its healthy for an artist to always aspire to something that’s very hard to reach. i found this quote by my hero Michelangelo the other day. – “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” – i love this.

so what do i mean by ‘classical aesthetic’..? well, an aesthetic that is archetypal and both firmly grounded in convention yet stands outside it. the thing is digital art is a new media pretty much without established conventions and this is where i have to be ambitious. i want to create art that looks like it has its own embedded set of conventions. probably most good art has this, but more over, conventions that can clearly recorded and shared with others. just like the conventions in classical music. the geometric metering would allow me to do this if there were individuals who wanted to know. i’ve talked about these root2art conventions elsewhere on this site, but most of them which i rely on to create are still and unrecorded. it might be an interesting experiment to see what others would produce working within this conventions and see also how they would be modified my new invention.

of course this is all a bit of a fantasy, the important thing is that the work looks like it has this level of meaning. i’m not saying i have achieved it, but its something i aspire to.

here is something i wrote to a friend today whilst talking about conventions in film:-
“i’m fascinated with pure forms in all genres. conventions, to me, are the natural crystallisation of what works given a certain set of conditions, refined and evolved by successive generations of creativity. i see a parallel with conventions in the arts to evolution in nature. like conversion in nature, where the same solutions evolves independently in different locations, (such as the certain types eye ball and chlorophyll) conventions in art can evolve independently in different cultures. i’m keen, like yourself, to learn from these archetypes.”

Sculpture In Gallery

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

Big Gallery Sculpture

I  am very fond of this work although it has troubled me for many years. It took a full year to conceive and yet if you only include the time it took to design the individual element that survive today you could say the whole thing took just 10 mins to come into being. Of course without the 1000s of hrs learning what was essential and what was not the important 10 mins would never of happened.

The piece was never destined to become a sculpture. For much of its evolution it was 2D. It was actually through this 2D development that I arrived at the many of the key properties of what would later become the Root2Art visual language. So really I didn’t just spend thousands of hours working on this project with a single result. Looking back I was actually working towards creating the foundation to new personal way of approaching art making, with this sculpture being a byproduct of that creative journey. This, i guess, is why i am still so attached to it.

I like to see how 3D structures fit together and transmit physical forces. In great built objects I love to see how and why the component parts of a structure are engineered for maximum efficiency. In truth, none of these considerations were part of the DNA of this sculpture. The real DNA of this work has its origins in my fascination with compression and tensile forces as well as geometry, but all within a 2D plane. It is very much an abstract form with no roots in 3D physical evolution. This is my problem, the only way I can see to make it is to cast it. For me a cast reveals very little about the processes and forces that brought it into being, which are in this case processes and forces from another dimension. You will see that the sculpture is essentially an extruded 2D template. Maybe a 4m height by 4m wide extruding die is the real answer!

The Root2Art DNA

Friday, November 24th, 2006

DNA Is Cool

a guy recently commented that my submission to the svg contest, had the root2art DNA all over it. i took this as a great compliment weather it was meant as this or not. to be fair it was in the context of a compliment so it probably was positive. the reason why i liked it was that it is an indication that, at least this individual thought was distinct enough to warrant its own DNA.

so i received this comment just as i was creating my digital man icon. the two ideas came together and i produced the above.

Root2Art Submission To The ‘The Brain Project 2006 – Theme: Borders’

Friday, November 17th, 2006

i’ve submitted a work to an international visual digital art competition organized by the Cultural Association ‘Acquamarina’ Italy. thebrainproject 

the competition calls for a conceptual component on the theme of ‘borders. if you like the conceptual dimension to my work, then you might enjoy reading this:-

i’ve posted the piece on this blog before so i won’t show it again.


Little Man Icon

Friday, November 17th, 2006

Graphic Man Icon

not sure where i’m going with this, but the little man icon, i feel has a lot of potential. driving home from the north of the country the other day after a trip to visit friends and climb, i began to develop an idea for a picture on a theme i could call, ‘Everyone What’s To Be Happy’. An essential element of this picture would be an infinite field of identical little people icons vanishing into the distance. At the heart of the pictures concept is the notion that all living things are united in our common desire to avoid suffering. The sketch above doesn’t reflect what i imagine for this composition, but i’m posting it as part of my new resolution to post the elements of my work as they evolve.

in the sketch above i’m really just exploring the geometry underpinning the icon and finding a strong relationship in the geometry of one icon to the scaled geometry of its neighbour.