The algorithm and painting semi-skilled: Notes for an exhibition | Journal of Contemporary Painting
Journal of Contemporary Painting
Volume 5, Number 1
The algorithm and painting semi-skilled: Notes for an exhibition
Authors: Chris Reitz
When Gabriel Orozco began painting in the mid-2000s he did so via a turn to non-compositional strategies of making – to painting by algorithm, on the one hand, and painting by appropriation on the other. Work in this vein included his rule-based ‘Samurai Tree’ series and a series of pixelated images he calls the ‘Particle Paintings’. This turn in Orozco’s practice served as the point of departure for an exhibition investigating the legacy of modernist painting techniques in artwork articulated in and through digital and computer technology. In addition to two works by Orozco (Pollock’s Drip Grid, 2011, a pixelated detail of Jackson Pollock’s Number 8, 1949, and an animation from his ‘Samurai Tree’ series), the exhibition featured work by six contemporary artists, all of which were produced in the last year. Orozco’s work, the oldest in the show, set the terms of the investigation and provided a critically established frame for the otherwise brand new work on display. This article describes the dual art historical stakes – deskilled non-compositional modernist strategies and reskilled computer art – of the exhibition that resulted.