Friday, March 28, 2014


Alan Engisch - "skycentered777"  2013,   digital inkjet print  - 35 3/4 x 26" re-post of my article

Digital art hasn't fully come of age as an art form, but this kind of work is getting broader acceptance faster than photography. Several years ago I found myself on the west coast. I walked into lacda (Los Angeles Center for Digital Art) and I was incredibly inspired by the digital art they were exhibiting. Locally, when And Or Gallery was around, they had a strong focus on the digital. Now and then, UTD's Central Track has had some technology and digital shows, but leave it to the Museum of Geometric and MADI Art to have a really focused show about digital art.

As a dabbler in the digital art realm myself, I often find that a really good piece never comes out quick and easy. A good amount of planning and thinking goes into each work. The curator and artist Alan Engisch put together some thoughtful artists and work of his own. Engisch’s digital print, along with Paul Abbott, looked digital sourced. All the hallmarks of pixelation or extreme repetition were there. I couldn’t quite pick out the exact process Abbott was using, but I felt the touch of “filters” somewhere. James Allumbaugh uses primitive software of MS Paint and his images are as simple as the tool, yet I am reminded of Russian Constructivist paintings. And his colors are garish and playful, much like many of the MADI artists I have encountered. Vlatko Ceric also reminds me of early Modern artists. His straightforward blocks arranged like a checkerboard is very Victor Vasarely, without the Op. Tim Bolt is referencing the Modern period with his stacked patterns that seem to create a visual vibration.

Henry Biber and Elle Schuster print their images on aluminum. I always thought this material gives a kind of digital flat screen feel. Biber works minimal while Schuster maximizes the surface with fractal images. I think I could write pages on the complex images of Schuster’s work. I know there is a computer program involved, but her choices as an artist make or break an image. I have seen John Holt Smith’s work on aluminum as well. His choice of c-print is a common print type for color photography. There has been some debate on if digital prints are really an evolution of photography. I think the line is a little blurry, but after all, we live in the era of “hybrid form.” Rich Morgan’s c-prints are photo manipulation at an extreme level. He is working in photography and yet he has transformed his image into something completely new.

Lane Banks uses computers the same way past artists treated drawing, as sketches for the final work. So, you find his paintings on display instead of digital prints. Sevan Melikyan also paints his digital creations, but once again, photography source material is part of the process in this very minimal/pixelated painting.

I enjoy digital art and work inspired by the digital, so I was glad to see that Museum of Geometric and MADI Art was open to such a show. I look forward to future shows of digital art at the Museum, because Dallas needs dialog about this type of art production. The more places open their doors to exhibit it, the more digital art will reach wider acceptance. Visit the work by Vlatko Ceric, Elle Schuster, James Allumbaugh, Paul Abbott, Tim Bolt, Lane Banks, Henry Biber, Rich Morgan, John Holt Smith, and Sevan Melikyan, and Alan Engisch. for more images

1 comment:

Alan Engisch said...

Thanks for your article on the show, Todd. I apologize for not writing to you earlier during the show. It seems like the MADI does not always get the coverage it deserves for its exhibitions. So, I wanted to let you know I appreciate that you, as a fellow digital artist, “got” our show and I enjoyed reading your concise and complimentary statements about each of us. I will look forward to reading your articles as they appear.

Alan Engisch