“Untitled” 1979

The 1st work I did using a computer was in grad school around 1967 at Notre Dame.  You couldn’t even call it art it was more about a way of thinking drawing was related to logic and syllogisms.  It fit well with minimalism.   I had a minor in philosophy as an undergrad and was especially interested in logic.   I had read somewhere that Stella was into logical positivism and Bertrand Russel.  Many young artists at the time liked the ideas of Ludwig Wittgenstein.  It’s not like many of us could understand the Tractatus but we had a vague idea of what it was about.  In the 70s I met Gary Schubert who was a computer scientist who by chance was also interested in art.  He to teach a series of computer art sessions to my painting seminar class at WVU.  I learned a lot at these sessions.   All of my activity at the time has to be saved on punch cards – the floppy disc was just being invented   Writing my programs was basically working with a sequence of grid locations that would tell the plotter pen where to start and where to go. The plotters had a red, yellow, blue & black pen.  My forms included basic geometric forms and that was about it.  What I wanted to do was to create a series of “allowable forms”   Within an aesthetic that had only a finite group of solutions   If you look at my paintings from about 69 thru 77 you can get a feeling for my aesthetic at the time.   I was working within a type of vertical grid using vertical, diagnostics and arched forms.   The placement of a diagonal. (parallelogram) adjacent to a vertical shape would create a shape that I either “ liked” or “disliked”.  So the negative shapes created were sometimes “good” (in my subjective  mind) and sometimes “bad”.

 

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