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Exploring the Ongoing Evolution of Digital Art

Written by: Peter Wiley

Stewart Michael Bruce - Metropolis-Eye-of-the-City Digital Print on Paper

Practically everyone fools around with computers these days, but only the highly talented sidestep facile special effects to create genuine works of art, such as those featured in "Pixel Perfect: ¬¬The Digital Fine Art Exhibition," at Agora Gallery, 530 West 25th Street, from April 18 through May 8 (Reception: April 24, from 6 to 8 PM).

Stewart Michael Bruce integrates his painting and drawing skills into his digital photomontages to create a complex and seamless compositional synthesis of superimposed imagery that takes the innovations of predecessors like Robert Rauschenberg several steps further. In Bruce’s "Baby Doll," for example, one lingerie form among others in a window filled with an intriguing array of reflections appears to sexily come to life, suggesting a latter-day Pygmalion.

Computer technology also takes a back seat to creative ingenuity and painterly attributes in the compositions of the artist known by the single name Jouanne, whose freehand explorations in Crayola and Dutch oil stick crayons prompt bold abstract compositions. Although they can appear child-like, Jouanne’s compositions are actually highly sophisticated in the tradition of Miro and the biomorphic abstractions of William Baziotes, as seen in "Crimson," with its sinuous, off-center shapes and blindingly beautiful use of primaries.

By contrast, Didier Deleidi employs fractual mathematics and a computer graphics system geared to fractual mathematics to create luminous C-prints that imaginatively explore endless cosmic, microscopic and undersea vistas. In Deleidi’s "117-Versus," mysterious purple auras surround a central form suggesting the head and shoulders of a phantom figure, while his "124 ¬¬ Abyssia" is a more lyrically amorphous composition in which intricate patterns of light emanate from a luminous blue field.

Atypically of computer art, Kaori Michishita’s exquisitely lit digital photography is possessed of a coloristic restraint that imbues her often surreal imagery with a striking sense of drama and gravity. In "Wishing," Michishita makes a poignant human statement with two graceful hands reaching up yearningly toward a mysterious floating object, while exemplifying the theories on Japanese aesthetics put forth by Jun’ ichiro Tanizaki in his eloquent essay "In Praise of Shadows."

T. Mikey, on the other hand, exemplifies a Neo-Pop-Sci-Fi-Hip Hop sensibility in his antic candy-colored compositions, such as "Picnic on the Moon," with its plethora of lively human and animal figures romping joyously in a scene that resembles a lunar bacchanal by a contemporary descendent of Hieronymus Bosch. However, the works that T. Mikey creates with a secret technique involving numerous layers of transparent film, paint, and an assortment of multicolored lights, framed in light-boxes, invariably have a more upbeat charm.

Stilleto-thin slivers of light partially illuminate shadowy green interiors in the mysteriously evocative photographs of the Indian photographer Pankaj Mistry. While capturing what he calls "that magical split second when an ordinary moment decides to share an extraordinary secret," Mistry also creates geometric compositions as austerely beautiful as a stripe painting by Barnett Newman.

Conversely, submerged figurative imagery lurks within the ostensibly abstract giclée prints of J. Coleman Miller, providing a surprise bonus for those who scrutinize them carefully. In Miller’s "The Fury," for example, one who is initially entranced solely by the liquescent fluidity of the forms may suddenly discover stylized heads of racing horses amid the fiery golden hues.

Fanciful architecture, floating flowers, and other cheery wonders enliven the engaging cityscapes, landscapes, and idealized suburban spaces of the Italian artist Maria Trezzi, who starts by creating her scenes in collage. Only after the images are firmly in place does Trezzi subject them to computer manipulation to complete the imaginative metamorphosis.

Image Credits: Stewart Michael Bruce - Metropolis-Eye-of-the-City Digital Print on Paper 23.5" x 29"

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