ARTIST STATEMENT

 

I am a digital artist exploring the intersection of digital technology and fine art using C++, global illumination techniques, and mathematical principles of fractal geometry. 

Over the past 60 years, we have seen the development of a vast computational nexus. By computational nexus, I mean the nexus of high-level programing languages, powerful computing devices, and highly engineered digital output devices.  Today, people in all parts of the world live and operate within this nexus and art forms within this realm have become ubiquitous.

The content of cinema, music, and a multitude of commercial endeavors, to name just a few, could not be created today without the use of a computer on which highly advanced digital tools with highly engineered graphical interfaces are available to a wide range of practitioners.

One can easily understand that this is just the most recent manifestation of the profound influence that science and technology have had on art throughout history.

One can also easily understand that the influence of computer science and digital techniques on art forms today have driven the production of these art forms toward economic and commercial ends.

In my work as a digital artist, however, I take a more self-conscious approach. My interest is in experimenting with the tools of computer science as they apply to the principles of computer graphics in hope of revealing a new aesthetic suitable for the new age we are in.

My medium is computer code, specifically C++. I proceed with a strong sense of history. Within my medium, I reflect principles of projective geometry, principals of light transport and global illumination, and principals of fractal geometry. Some of these principles, particularly the rules of perspective, were developed as far back as the Renaissance. I use, as well, computer models developed within the past 60 years that embody all of these principles. 

My work is largely deterministic, although not completely as the light transport model uses Monte Carlo simulation techniques to model a certain degree of randomness in the behavior of light ray bounces within a scene.

I emphatically state that, at the present time, my work does not make use of any of the artificial intelligence techniques currently in vogue.

I sit in front of my screen playing God by manipulating over 150 inputs into my model which consist of vectors, scalars, and a few string values. These inputs are deterministic of the final image.

A large component of my work is fractal in nature – the trees, the clouds, certain landscapes. Mandelbrot is the first “fractalist” and made significant contributions to the field of fractal geometry in the second half of the 20th century. However, when thinking about fractals, do not just think of just of his famed cardioid shapes. More significantly, Mandelbrot articulated mathematical principles that describe roughness and apparent randomness in nature. From a computer graphics perspective, these principles can be applied recursively, something the computer is very good at doing. The result is the creation of incredibly complex structures that are strongly evocative of organic and natural forms.

I’m not sure what specific term to apply to my work. It is certainly not photo-realism or even realism. What I expect is that the viewer will recognize that objects are existing within a unifying three-dimensional space. What I expect is that the viewer will be visually engaged by the work. And what I hope is that each piece tells a story that causes the viewer to take a moment to meditate on man’s relation to technology.

Robert P. Fine, Charleston SC, March 2024