A Technology Art of Expressionism
Growing up in the 1960’s I was introduced to electronic music, an artform created by human composers and produced through emerging electronic technologies. My father, a professor of music theory and composition and resident composer in our city, had me engrossed in his exploration in using machines to create art. His experimentation with pure synthesized sound, generated through electrical signals, amplified, phase shifted, wave manipulated segments of audio without the use of any known ancient or modern physical analog instrumentation was exhilarating. I was transfixed by what he did during that period, but the moment of transformation of my life’s trajectory was when he brought composer Morton Subotnick to the college for the annual Contemporary Music Festival in 1978. Mr. Subotnick had composed “Silver Apples of the Moon”, and “Wild Bull” among many other works. My introduction to and days spent as a teenager with Mr. Subotnick changed my outlook on creativity. Forever. Mr. Subotnick assembled an experiential room at my father’s college, reactive to our movements as we passed through, with electronic sound and visual imagery. I saw the future of art. A technology art.
Today for many artists, the computer is acting as canvas, paint, brush and palette. Technology art is a burgeoning force within the visual arts, expanding the creativity of the artist as they digitally explore their world through expressionism. Digital is a rigorous artform, demanding the same understanding of color, form, composition, and light. A “Techspressionist” is now the recognized term for such artists.
I see Techspressionism also as a movement important for collecting fellow creative artists whose work is realized through technology, giving substantive voices to how our work is not a transient, effortless click of the buttons and preset filters, but just as demanding an art form as any other. It is important as a vehicle for connecting these artists together to share concepts and processes. I expect the movement will clarify these points and further validate and legitimize the computer as a brilliant mechanism for creative expressionism.
It is profoundly important toward addressing past misunderstandings of “digital art” as well as future unknowns. I recently had one of my works in The Galen, the museum extension of Palm Springs (now the Artists Council). It was challenging for me to see so many people look at the work and assume it was a photograph; that “that” was digital art. I spoke with one visitor who was convinced my work was borrowed imagery, which I have never done.
I admit I am not typically a follower of any organized entity, but I feel there is great merit to Techspressionism in many ways. Like life in Paris in the 1920’s, artists now have greater resources to connect with like-minded artists. Techspressionism has changed the trajectory of electronic painting, or “digital art” by that necessary quarter-inch. As Morton Subotnick opened my world to technology art, Techspressionism offers a social platform for all of us to express ourselves as we paint and create in the digital world.
December 16, 2021