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Relational aesthetics


 painting by Jackson Pollack

Many ideas are colliding in my internal artist’s discourse. On the one hand Rob has pointed out Nicolas Bourriaud’s piece relational aesthetics. He says that Art Dirt Redux and my high definition morph video database pieces are relational aesthetics.

On the other hand I just read a piece in the December 2005 wired magazine called the Rembrandt code. It’s about Dan Rockmore a computer scientist who has come up with a system for scanning artworks and analyzing their brushstrokes to detect real masters paintings from that of a students or a forger.

Even more interesting is the reference to Professor Richard Taylor’s work on Jackson Pollack. It appears that Pollack paintings adhere to fractal geometry and chaos theory. Where does an artwork exist? One can say it has a physical existence but that is simply the object and a work of art is not simply the object but also the ideas it (presents, stimulates, communicates, proposes). I would also suggest that an artwork represents or reflects the system that supports it, that is the patrons who pay for the artwork to be created. The relationship is not simple. Artists tend to challenge the patronage system and aesthetics at every turn. This is, in a certain sense, a sign of vitality. It assumes that there must always be a churning of ideas and forms and an ongoing discussion about the meaning and use of art. In contrast one might look to traditional, tribal societies where the style and the form of an artwork varies very little from one period to the next.

(from online website article on Daniel Spoerri) During his first visit to America in 1964, Daniel Spoerri, one of the most innovative European avant-garde artists to emerge in the 1960s, debuted at New York's Allan Stone Gallery with an exhibition titled "31 Variations on a Meal." In the gallery were assemblages utilizing the after-dinner leavings of art-world denizens Ray Johnson, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rosenblum, Marjorie Strider and Andy Warhol, among others. The following year, Spoerri returned and stayed at the Chelsea Hotel for several months. Richard Bellamy's Green Gallery sponsored a two-week show there of the disarray of the artist's living quarters, dense with the tabletop still lifes that Stone hadn't sold. These works consisted of actual mealtime leftovers or desktop objects glued to a surface and displayed as wall-mounted high reliefs. During the next three decades, Europe was Spoerri's principal arena, and his work was seen infrequently in this country. (1) This means that we have some catching up to do with an artist whose inventive practices continue to inform art-making in countries around the world. Spoerri began his visual-arts career in 1959 at age 30 (after spells as a ballet dancer, theater director and Concrete poet) by founding Editions MAT, a pioneering series of low-cost, editioned works of art by friends such as Marcel Duchamp, Dieter Roth, Jean Tinguely and Victor Vasarely. He was the first to apply the term "multiple" to such projects, which are today commonplace. Along with Tinguely, the Romanian-born, Swiss-reared Spoerri was a founding member of the assemblage-oriented Nouveaux Realistes group in 1960. He also participated in several Fluxus events and publications in the early '60s.

That Pollack paintings are fractal is not really surprising. Anyone who draws (as in drawing with your hand) from nature, immediately sees the recurring structures in clouds rocks water, fire etc. and uses a repeated patterning to create the forms on paper. When you get the fractals right, the work looks natural. Pollack is immersive. My morphs use topology and geometry in a relational manner. There’s no Po-Mo irony in this new body of work. It’s about beauty and reality.still from hdv morph database

The wired magazine article also unwittingly exposes the flaws of science as a “creative” endeavor. The fact that a painting by Jackson Pollack or Rembrandt can be measured and quantified does not mean that a machine can then create art. Science is best utilized as a measuring tool. One has only to look at any number of fractal art works made by scientists using computers and compare them to a Jackson Pollock painting. Pushing the envelope I can say that my morphs are hand made because I adjust and draw the control lines for the morphs. The process is do a ten frame morph and then morph between each of the frames with a 30 frame morph. This a far different from taking 2 photos and dumping them into a morph program and letting the software do all the work. It is a meditation of the transformation of form or perhaps it is the understanding of multiple shape to a form. Indeed, quantum mechanics in which a particle can be here and there at the same time makes total sense in my morphs. One sees that an object contains all the possible movements and occilations of form as well as it’s fixed dimension.

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