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ALGORITHMIC ART
T W E N T Y   Y E A R S
      
Arizona State University at Tempe, AZ
Computing Commons Gallery 
 
January 18 to March 9, 2001

ROMAN VEROSTKO.
This show represents twenty years of experimental work  writing detailed instructions coded to drive pen plotters that are drawing machines designed for architects & engineers.  Instructions (algorithms), created by the artist, control every minute detail of  drawing and brushing activity.  Every  pen and  brush stroke, in this exhibition,  was executed with either a pen or a  brush mounted on the drawing arm of a pen plotter working under the guidance of the artist's instructions (algorithms).   Gold leaf was applied by hand with traditional materials. For more detail on studio procedures click here

Index of works

Pathways
Polarities
Brush  
Cyberflowers
Boole,Limited Edition
The Sun Canticles


Visions of Hildegarde
Gaia Improvisations
Growth of Form (mural model)
Diamond Lake Apocalypse
Illuminated Universal Turing Machine
Celebrating Y2K

Reviews 

EXHIBITION CATALOGUE 

Pathways


1.
Pathway  A. 2000
Paper Size: 29" by 23"
Pen and ink plotted drawin
g. 

 


2.
Pathway B. 2000
Paper Size: 29" by 23"
Pen and ink plotted drawing. 

 

  Gallery view.

In the works above the  "all-over" distributions are linear random walks with numerous iterations.  The text-like inscription is an algorithmically generated visual label.

These works were achieved with  routines used in the artist's earliest pen plotted drawings. The procedures grew from his Magic Hand of Chance (1982-85), a work that drew animated linear sequences on a monitor.  Prototypes of these software procedures may be found in forms of automatism practiced by some dada artists and surrealists in the early 1920's. "Automatic" writing  and drawing  sought to explore  unconscious regions of human experience using spontaneous or non-rational methods as  in making a thoughtless "doodle".


Polarities

3.
West-East 1
. 2000
Paper Size: 23" by 29"
Pen and ink plotted drawing.

 

 4.
West-East 2
. 2000
Paper Size: 23" by 29"
Pen and ink plotted drawing.

 

Linear fields address the attraction and repulsion of opposites - their similarity and their difference are presented simultaneously as "West-East" or "Heaven and Earth".  These images evoke experience that transcends the tight bounds of  earth and object. The routines were developed from random distributions with parameter controllers for elements such as scale and direction.


5.
Heaven & Earth. 2000
Paper Size:
29" by 23"
P
en and ink plotted drawing.



  Gallery view.


Brush 

 

 


6.
Nested Swallow
. 1997

Paper Size: 42” by 30”
Brush and pen plotted drawing.

 


7.
Flying Crane. 1996
Paper Size: 42” by 30”
Date: 1996.  
Brush and pen plotted drawing.

 

  Gallery view from outside.

The artist's first robotic brush strokes were achieved in 1987. The strokes achieve spontaneous qualities using coded procedures. The software generates a brush form and requests a paint brush. The artist places a loaded brush in the plotter's drawing arm and the plotter executes the stroke. For the text-like characters a self inking sumi brush is employed much like an ink pen. 

The linear character in the medallion was plotted algorithmically and identifies the controller for the brush stroke and all the pen strokes in a specific work.


Three Sisters:  Gaia Improvisations

 

 


8.
Gaia E II, 1996.
Paper Size: 30" by 22"
Pen plotter drawing.

 

 

 


9.
Gaia E VII, 1995.
Paper Size: 30" by 22"
Pen plotter drawing.

 

 

 


 

 

10.
Gaia E VIII, 1995.
Paper Size: 30" by 22"
Pen plotter drawing.

 

 

Familial Resemblance. The software procedure generates a "family" of forms with a strong familial resemblance. These  works  resemble each other because they were generated from the same parent code, a software procedure capable of generating a series of forms that resemble each other as in a family. This work demonstrates the similarities between the artist's software and epigenesis. In this instance, somewhat as in a garden, members of  the the "family"  were "generated" with the artist's software.  The text-like characters, derived from the same visual initiators as the central clusters, add to the "self similarity" of the whole. 


The Diamond Lake Apocalypse


11.
Diamond Lake Apocalypse, Pathway, 1993
22" by 30"
Pen plotted drawing.



12.
Diamond Lake Apocalypse, Burning Bush, 2000
23" by 29"
Pen plotted drawing.


Illuminated Algorithmic  Scripts.  Presented as an opened book with a page left and a page right, the work is intentionally fashioned as a "precious object" in the tradition of the illuminated manuscript. Just as the medieval monk transformed the written word through "illumination" so, in our time, with a pen plotter, an electronic sciptor, transforms algorithmic scripts into precious objects. With its network of pen plotters the artist views his studio as an electronic scriptorium where digital procedures are celebrated in the form of illuminated scriptures. The studio overlooks the Diamond Lake that inspired the title for this series. 


13.
Diamond Lake Apocalypse, Canon I, 1999
23" by 29"
Pen plotted drawing.

  Viewing in gallery. 


Illuminated Universal Turing Machine


14.
Illuminated Universal Turing Machine T3, 1995
Paper Size: 30" by 22" 
Pen plotted drawing on paper. 




15.
Illuminated Universal Turing Machine T4, 1995
Paper Size: 30" by 22" 
Pen plotted drawing on paper. 

 

The central rectangle with a gray appearance is composed of a specific sequence of 1's and 0's. This is a "text"  for one version of a Universal Turing Machine (UTM) quoted from Roger Penrose' The Emperor's New Mind (Chapter 2). The sequence of  5,495 digits expresses an algorithm, in expanded binary, for a UTM. This algorithm holds a special place in the history of computing machinery since all general computers are Universal Turing Machines. In the tradition of illuminated sacred texts this algorithm is presented as a valued authoritative text of our times. The pen plotted form enhancements, generated with the artist's code, require the logic of a UTM for execution, thus being a form of "Turing on Turing"!  For examples of the artist's Turing Machine "self portraits" and further documentation on UTM's  click here.

  Gallery view


Celebrating Y2K


16.
Two Thousand Improvisations, v2, 2000

Paper Size: 29” by 23”  Date: 
Pen plotted drawing on  paper.

 


17.
Two Thousand Improvisations, v3, 2000

Paper Size: 29” by 23”  
Pen plotted drawing on  paper.

 

These improvisations, celebrating 2000 years, were begun in 1999. Three series with various versions have been drawn. Each version presents a different series of two thousand improvisations, each  individually drawn with pen and ink, line for line, without any repetitions.  The detailed originals can be hypnotizing as the eye wanders from one unit to the next discovering unexpected form inventions from one rectangle to the next 


Cyberflowers

18.
Cyberflower I. 3, 2000
29" by 23"
Pen plotted drawing
19.
Cyberflower IV. 1, 2000
29" by 23"
Pen plotted drawing
20.
Cyberflower V. 1, 2000
29" by 23"
Pen plotted drawing

Some years ago an artist colleague entered Verostko's studio and saw his algorithmic pen plots for the first time. Spontaneously and with some gusto, he exclaimed  "Computer flowers!". Since then the algorists of the late 20th Century have been generating a cyber landscape with many faces . Verostko believes we have seen only the tip of a huge continent of unbelievable dimension, a marvelous world of form to be explored and enjoyed in the 21st Century. These cyberflowers, harvested from this new world, are several of his best at the turn of the Century.  

The algorithm driving this series generates its curvilinear procedures from a single set of coordinates. Algorithmic improvisations based on a single set of coordinates introduce a self similarity that permeates the form on several levels.

Gallery view


Visions of Hildegard 
  

21.
Visions of Hildegarde, G, 2000
29" by 23"
Pen plotted drawing.

 


22.
Visions of Hildegarde, L, 2000
29" by 23"
Pen plotted drawing.

 

Arrays of form. The pen plotted "Visions of Hildegarde" invite meditation through arrays of improvisation. Each vision, one more improvisation in the seemingly countless array of possibles, points to the manner in which the limits of the drawing procedure, like life, are unknowable.

Hildegarde  of  Bingen (1098-1179), a medieval theologian and mystic organized her  major prophetic work,  Scivias, around 26 visions divided in three parts (6,7,13). Her work includes hymns composed with chant notation that  appeal to the  human spirit and the search for spiritual fulfillment.   

Two of  Hildegard's  hymns in Latin and English with links to source manuscripts with chant notation may be found at:   http://www.irupert.com/HILDEGRD/hildetext.htm For a Hildegard biographical see:  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07351a.htm

Gallery view


Model of the "Growth of Form" Mural, Version III, 1:6 Scale.


23.
Epigenesis: the Growth of Form (1996-2000).
 
19" by 76"
Pen & brush plotted drawing. 


Created as a work of art in its own right, this piece models, on a scale of 1:6, the forms and procedures employed for a pen plotted mural composed of eleven 3 foot by 6 foot units.   Both this model and the finished work are pen and brush plotted drawings. The full scale project, framed with stained oak paneling, occupies a space measuring 9 feet by 40 feet at the University of St. Thomas  Science and Engineering Center  (St. Paul,  Minnesota, 1997). This version, an algorithmic clone of the original model, was completed in September, 2000.

The brush strokes and gold roundels, identify the visual theme permeating eleven  improvisations.  Form-generating procedures, created by the artist, employed this linear form for growing this suite of eleven graphic harmonies.  Executed with a multi-pen plotter, clusters of pen strokes mirror themselves with improvisations of form based on the same information that controlled the very first line in the suite.  The central geometrical figure, drawing on the same visual theme, reveals one more morphological improvisation. The eleven unit harmonic suite displays the growth of form and, by analogy to the biological term, may be viewed as epigenesis.

Model as shown in the gallery.

For details on the mural project  click here.


Books from the limited edition of Boole's "Derivation of the Laws...".

24.
Text page and illustration, 1990

Open: 6" by 20" 
Pen plo
t.

Derivation of  the Laws  by  George Boole The "Derivation..."  text is Chapter III from Boole's classic work: An Investigation of the Laws of Thought.. (Macmillan, 1854). 


25.
Frontispiece, #9, 1990

Open: 6" by 20" 
Brush and pen plot.

26.
Frontispiece, #82, 1990

Open: 6" by 20" 
Brush and pen plot.


For this project the "tipped in"  front and end pieces were pen-plotted in an algorithmic serial edition. Each  drawing, "one of a kind", was drawn or brushed, stroke for stroke  with a pen plotter driven by  the artist's software.  Two families of form, 125 originals in each,  introduce a radically new procedure that Roger Malina has referred to as  "post mechanical" reproduction. This  form-generating procedure  has already impacted the printing industry and will have a profound impact on the graphic arts in the 21st Century. This edition (1990) may be the first instance where an algorithmic improvisational series of original drawings was created for a bound  limited edition.


27.

Endpiece, #14, 1990
Open: 6" by 20"
Pen plotted drawing.


28.

Endpiece, #79, 1990
Open: 6" by 20"
Pen plotted drawing.

The limited edition of 125 copies, bound in leather, was pulled by hand at the St. Sebastian Press in Minneapolis in 1990. Each copy has original, "one of a kind", tipped in front and end pieces with pen and brush plotted drawings executed in the artist's studio. Other illustrations were pulled with line cut plates made from original pen plotted drawings.   The work was also issued in a reproduction  paperback version based on the original type setting and plotter drawings (February 1991, ISBN 1-879508-07-9). The press is no longer active. The artist retains a limited number of copies of each edition. Roman Verostko

Gallery bookcase display (click for detail)

 

29.

Deluxe binding. Gold stamp device from an algorithmic pen drawing, 6" by 10", 1990.

 

Typography by Michael Tomaszewski;  set in Gill Sans; cast by M&H Type of San Francisco. Binding by Michael Norman. Plotter drawings and brush strokes executed by Alice Wagstaff  using Roman's algorithms.   Pathway Studio Seal by Wang Dong Ling (Hangzhou PRC).


31.
Reproduction edition printed by Twin City Litho
Saint Sebastian Press, 1990 
Ornament page, verso, 10" by 6"
Print, line cut plate from  algorithmic pen drawing

 

For more  information on this edition click here.


The Sun Canticles 
  
Click for larger image

31.
Canticle to the Sun II, 1996

20" by 15""
Pen plotted drawing.



Click for larger image32.
Canticle to the Sun IV, 1996
20" by 15""
Pen plotted drawing.



In 1966 the artist painted a large eight-foot by four-foot wooden panel as a "Canticle to the Sun". That work, celebrating the sun, incorporated text from the sun canticle by Francis of Assisi (1182-1226). Reminiscent of the same canticle, these pen plotted works celebrate the sun using radial algorithms. The artist employed radial algorithms in works dating back to 1987. The illuminated brush strokes have no rational meaning. These algorithmic brush plots display visual pathways arbitrarily chosen from a vast array of possible sequences.

  Gallery view.
 


   
 Some works have a studio seal.  For detailed information click here.


Reviews:

*Chronicle of Higher Education*click here
  Arizona Republic review by Megan Bates,  click here
Koleen Robert's review in ASU's  "Inside IT", click here


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Copyright Roman Verostko, 2000. All rights reserved.