My work explores the relationship between Abstract Expressionism and the inanimate, using digital technologies to juxtapose mathematical precision with the irregularity of freehand painting. The mathematical representation of nature through the relationship between lines, colour and plane and spatial arrangement intrigue me, as they combine to provide a unifying structure of the abstract elements. I have gained inspiration from artists such as De Kooning, Rothko and those of the Surrealist movement. I use computer-driven technology to create random elements to my work, which I then overlay with freehand drawing using a stylus pencil on an iPad. The ability to produce multiple variations of the original, or multiple copies of the same version speaks to the ubiquity of the genre, creating a new conceptualism or network ideology. This intuitive and biomorphic style of Expressionism (closely aligned with elements of both Surrealism and Dada) which is evident in “post-internet” art can be coined “Programmed Abstraction” (a phrase I have created myself) and identifies with both the non-figurative spontaneous and structural style of Expressionism.
Digital art is arguably the new wave, allowing artists a sense of freedom principally afforded by the use of technology.
Ruben Peterson – Painterly Interface
Located within art conversations around internet art and the aesthetics of gestural–colour field paintings, my artwork is generated on a digital platform. I intentionally make works that have a tactile haptic quality even though they are digitally rendered. Computer-generated options and features allow me to simulate authentic physical brushstrokes by creating gestural abstractions through digital splashes of virtual paint.
I use digital software to create works that explore the dynamic relationship between mathematical precision and improvisation, incorporating the physicality and spontaneity of conventional painting. The process of working with digital software allows me to work on a digital touch screen and swipe across the surface to build layers of colour and form and create a painterly surface in a digital context. I want the works to echo Abstract Expressionism. I explore an “all over” approach to composition, where each element of the work is given equal prominence and significance, with only hints at the background layering and liminal space that exists beyond the work.
To extend the relationship between past, present and future, the works are printed onto canvas or Dibond using a high definition inkjet printer. They are smooth and gestural, pointing to histories of formalist painting as well as digital processes. The result probes the viewer to question whether the digitally rendered image is in fact a painted work.
Surrealist artists like Andre Masson were freed up by using a process called “automatic drawing”, where the artist’s subconscious was attributed to the making of the works, and chance and nature controlled the visual composition of the work. In my work, the “automation” elements of my paintings are generated through the scope of the software, such as changing the opacities of individual layers, cloud swathes to add depth, and varying colour tones and highlights.