Notes:       Only extracts from the brochure of the exhibition are presented here.

The borchure divides the artists into three categories:

Pioneers (John Whitney, Harold Cohen, Lilian Schwartz)

Early Settlers (Manfred Mohr, Darcy Gerberg),

Later Settlers (Mark Wilson, Isaac Victor  Kerlow, Jeremy Gardiner,

Margot Lovejoy, Haresh Lalvani, Robert Moran, Louie Grenier,

Peter Max, Jerry McDaniel, Micha Riss, Mark Halliday), and

Educators (Roy Blomster, Jeremy Gardiner, Darcy Gerbarg,

Louie Garnier, Issac Kerlow, Haresh Laivani, Margot Lovejoy,

Jerry McDaniel, Lillian Schwartz, Mark Wislon).


Jerry McDaniel appears on the following pages of the brochure:

 p. 9, p.11, and p. 24.


Front cover of the exibition brochure.

Inner front cover of the Hurlbut Gallery exibition brochure.




A New Frontier - The Computer and The Visual Arts:

Pioneering, Settling, Education

Hurlbutt Gallery

Greenwich Library

101 West Putman Avenue

Greenwich, CT 06830


Pioneers, settlers and educators are part of the development of every new frontier. The exhibit The Computer as an Art Tool at Huributt Gallery in the Greenwich Library March 20 through May 4, will explore these facets of development in an important new frontier: the computer and the visual arts.


Computer-generated art, says artist Darcy Gerbarg,"is dependent on a. technology that was originally developed for scientific purposes. The technonogy Is computer graphics, a development of computer science which had its beginning in aerospace research. This same technology was further developed by the military for surveillance, and by industry for use in designing and manufacturing airplanes, automobiles, etc- Later the textile and printing industries developed computer graphics techniques for their specific applications and now these tools have become available on a broader scale to artists."


(John Whitney, Harold Cohen, Lilian Schwartz)

In a new frontier, a pioneer is one who strikes out into virgin territory to explore and chart the unknown. He braves the elements, hews down tall trees, and beats out a path for others to follow. The still-developing new frontier of the computer In the visual arts has had a number of pioneers. Notable among this group are John Whitney, Harold Cohen and Lillian Schwartz.


Early Settlers

(Manfred Mohr, Darcy Gerberg)

Following the pioneers in a new frontier, come settlers. Realizing the potential in the free, new world, they pack their belongings and leave their comfortable homes behind. Bravely they travel long distances , build forts and log cabins, and settle in. Often they live and work in isolation from the rest of the world. Manfred Mohr and Darcy Gerbarg are among the early settlers in the world of computer-generated art.



Later Settlers

(Mark Wilson, Isaac Victor  Kerlow, Jeremy Gardiner, Margot Lovejoy, Haresh Lalvani, Robert Moran, Louie Grenier, Peter Max, Jerry McDaniel, Micha Riss, Mark Halliday)


Once and outpost has been established more settlers follow. The remaining artists in the Hurlbutt Gallery exhibit turned to the computer between the years 1980-1984.



Jerry McDaniel's work with the computer has been a continuation of his graphics. A professor in the Art and Design Division at New York's F.I.T. (Fashion Institute of Technology) he started working with computers in 1952. He Is currently earning his Master's degree in computer art at N.Y.I.T. His explorations In image research with analog systems at F.I.T., and his experience with the "Images' system at NY.).T., has extended his concepts in the study of theoretical synthetics. In a 1985 Arttech 85 show in New York, three of McDaniel's images were exhibited, and he was nominated for a Vision Award in computer art. He is currently working on images for a July, 1986 computer art exhibit of graduate students' work to be held at N.Y.I.T.'s Master Eagle Gallery.

McDaniel has work in the permanent collections of the National Gallery in Washington, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


(Roy Blomster, Jeremy Gardiner, Darcy Gerbarg, Louie Garnier, Issac Kerlow, Haresh Laivani, Margot Lovejoy, Jerry McDaniel, Lillian Schwartz, Mark Wislon)

Important In every new frontier are the educators. Pioneers and early settlers have blazed the trails and braved the elements. They then turn to share their findings as the seeds of civilization begin to take root. They instruct, instill and inspire those who are to follow, paving the way for the estab­lishment of great. cities on their foundations.


In the computer-generated art world, this education is working to overcome both "computer phobia' and "computer worship." Statements like, "Computers are so complicated, Ili never be able to understand them' and 'Math was always my worst subject in school," are common signs of computer phobia in older generation members. They soon find, once they work with a computer, that it is more a matter of logical, careful thinking that is involved (especially in programming) than complex mathematical formulas. “Computers are really high-speed adding machine, “Mark Wilson counters whenthis thought is presented to him. “They’re really capable of doing only simple and lowz-level things, but they do them very, very fast.” Lillian Schwartz, too, has described her relief early on, when she finally realized that she was dealing with a big, black dumb box that only printed out what she fed it! (Now she fluctuates between this view and an admiring reverence for the compute’s capabilites and potential.)

Once the would-be computer artist gets past these hurdles, he goes through an intensely frustrating period in order to learn programming. Roy / says of this period: "I felt like I had fallen into a bottomless pit. I thought I was going to lose my mind!' In one of Blomster's programming classes at the School of Visual Arts, only 45 out of 70 students finished the course. Some computer-using artists do not even go through this period, as they use already programmed paint systems, a short­cut the 'hard core' artists sometimes criticize.

A majority of the artists in the Hurlbutt Gallery exhibit are involved with education and publications. Roy Blomster is a teacher at Greenwich High School and has given talks on Cable TV. Jeremy Gardiner has been a visiting lecturer at N.Y.I.T., M.I.T. and the Massachusetts College of Art. Darcy Gerbarg, a Director of the Institute for Computers in the Arts at the School of Visual Arts, Is also Director of the MFA Program there, and lectures across the country. She is working on a book with Cynthia Goodman, Curator at The Guggenheim Museum, entitled Art in the Computer Age.


Louie Grenier is a teacher at the Center for Media Arts, while Isaac Kerlow is a visiting Instructor at both Pratt and the School of Visual Arts. Kerlow also lectures widely and has a book coming out this spring entitled, Computer Graphics for Designers and Artists. Haresh Lalvani, a consultant at N.Y.I.T. and associate professor at Pratt, writes and lectures in this country and abroad, and is the author of two books on morphology. Margot Lovejoy is an associate professor at SUNY, has also taught at Parsons and Pratt, and as already stated, is working on a book entitled Artist and Machine, while Jerry McDaniel is a professor at F.I.T. Lillian Schwartz has lectured widely, been adjunct professor at several colleges, currently New York University, has written a fantasy book and Is working on an autobiography. Mark Wilson has taught at Yale, the University of California and Memphis State University. Wilson is the author of the aforementioned book entitled Drawing with Computers.


Is It Art?

'Pioneers do indeed get arrows in their backs," Andries van Dam is quoted as saying in The Universal Machine by Pamela McCorduck, (Van Dam is a prime mover in an ambitious plan to provide personal computer workstations for everyone at Brown University,) The same could be said for pioneers and early settlers in the computer-generated art world. Acceptance of their work as art has been slow. “The official New York art world has largely ignored computer art,” says Mark Wilson, veho talks about a confusion of mere pictures and true art, "While many computer-produced images are extraordinary and fascinating, they are not necessarily art,” he continues.

Herein lies the problem. "Art is what artists do,' Nam June Palk, a famous computer-generated video artist has been quoted as saying, and Carole McCauley writes in her book, Computers and Creativity, "Creative use of computers will happen only if the people using them are creative.' Harold Cohen feels that conventional art is a result of an overly conventional "mindset" to the computer. He stated In a NICOGRAPH 85 International Symposium lecture in Japan: 'It is not because of any anti-modern hostility that the art world has essentially ignored the work of computer artists, but because of its utter orthodoxy; we simply don't need a re-run of all the themes of modernist painting.' And so the debate continues.

Last year's exhibit, Emerging Expressions - The Artist and the Computer at The Bronx Museum of the Arts was one of the first of its kind in the New York area. Some New York galleries such as the Twining Gallery and the smaller Pixel Gallery, exhibit computer-generated art. Other exhibits have been scattered across the country. Beyond the Horizons Gallery in Pittsburgh and the Louisville Art Gallery in Kentucky, sponsor exhibits regularly as does SIGGRAPH, and many of these exhibits travel to locations in this country and abroad. Exhibits at colleges also occur. In 1982, the Sheldon Art Museum, on the Univeristy of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, held a large exhibit including the work of Robert Mallory, an early pioneer who uses the computer to help design sculpture, and Ed Emshwiller. Kenneth Knowlton, Gerbarg, Mohr and Lovejoy were also included In that exhibit. It follows too, that as mainstream artists such as Philip Pearlstein begin to use the computer in their art, this work will be shown in more of the major exhibits in museums and galleries.

Computer-generated art seems to have been more widely accepted In Europe. Way back in 1965, three mathematicians organized the first exhibition of computer-generated visual art at the Studio Gallery of the University of Stuttgart, Germany, and in 1968, the Institute of Contemporary Arts In London held a major exhibition of computer art. Some of the artists in the Hurlbutt Gallery exhibit have had work on exhibit at places like the Musee d'Art Moderne in Paris.


The Future

As the costs of computers come down and its technology is developed and further refined, the computer-generated art frontier of today will become the more familiar, settled city of tomorrow.

In the 1960's. the cost of computer technology was so exorbitant and its use so complicated that collaboration between artist and some scientific institution was mandatory. On top of this, the work was very tedious. When Lillian Schwartz first worked with a computer, she worked blind, with no monitor or screen at all. The turn around time before she got a plotted graphic and was able to see the results of all of the tedious keyboard work, was two or three days. In 1986, with pre-programmed, sophisticated paint systems, an artist can create complex artworks on their monitors in a matter of minutes by moving a special pen across a drawing Dad. Getting the computer-generated image from the screen to a "hard copy" form is still something of a problem. The image can be put directly onto video, or photographed (cibachrome) or plotted with drawing pens onto paper or canvas. In Mark Wilson's colorful drawings, each color is plotted separately, a process that takes time and patience.

Like the world of photography, in which many people own and operate cameras but only some use them for fine art, so producing art on computers will lose Its mystique as more and more people acquire 'user friendly" personal computers with paint systems, mouses, joy sticks and Kowala pads. Then the computer's true value as an art tool will be tested. -What do artists hope to gain by dropping their paintbrushes and other traditional image-making devices and sitting down in front of a computer?" Dale Peterson asks in his book Genesis //. "Precision, iteration (repetition) trans­formation and serendipity," he answers.

Manfred Mohr lauds the computer for its "incorruptible precision" and Mark Wilson says it's a new way of seeing. "Computer graphics have shown us things we could not see before," he observes. Pamela McCorduck exclaims: "Computer scientists have come face to face with the unyielding barrier of the unknowable, the infinity of the symbolic universe, and a humbling experience it is."


As Harold Cohen pushes further and further, his Inquiry into what art is and the defined rules for picture making, we see the computer art field take on a deep dimension. His drawing program has given us a step-by-step record of his Inquiry into the understanding of the very structure of images that refer to some aspect of the world. Stephen Wilson in Using Computers to Create Art sums it up as follows:


Artists have historically served in the time-honored role of culture reflectors and interpreters. They have used their status and sensibilities as 'outsiders' to help the culture digest changes. They have helped their audiences to look beneath the surface and connect the unconnected. Certainly the computer-generated ripples of cultural change washing over the contemporary world cry out for the searching eye and hand of the artist. When artists make computers part of their subject matter, they act as a tonic for the cultural development process."

'I paint directly with light, colored light,' says Darcy Gerbarg. What could more clearly illustrate the wonder and potential of the grand new frontier of The Computer As An Art Tool?







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p. 24