I’m a big fan of Richter, especially his squeegee abstractions done with oil paint, but his digitally created “Stripe Paintings” are trite, and a technique I figured out at least 15 years ago. When I saw them a few weeks ago for the first time, they reminded me of some early digital experiments I did, which I didn’t think were of sufficient interest to even share.
Here he is in front of one of these high-priced masterpieces:
My early examples are lost or in one of my old computers collecting dust in someone’s basement, if it still exists at all. Initially I used this technique in combo with HTML to make a changing painting, for what that’s worth. And here’s a piece using the same essential technique I just knocked out in 3 minutes and 13 seconds, most of which was devoted to looking in my files for a source image to use.
Yuck. I don’t really even like this one. The way you do it is just make a selection of a photo or whatever, about 1 pixel wide, and then stretch it. DONE! Call it a day and open a new bank account, if you’re Gerhard Richter.
Here, let me make another one.
The thing that’s weird to me about this is when I first discovered this technique I didn’t think it was in and of itself worth calling art, partly because it was way too easy to produce, but also because it was just horizontal stripes. It isn’t aesthetically interesting or beautiful enough. I mean, shit, the ones I knocked out above were created with zero aesthetic contemplation. I just opened a file and executed the procedure. I didn’t tweak it, didn’t try multiple times, didn’t carefully select anything.
There’s just not enough in horizontal stripe paintings. Gotta’ do something more with it. Instead I gather he made thousands of these things. And the people fawned. Oh how they did. And they bought.
Oh, but wait, he did something a bit more complicated as well.
Uuuuh. Yuuuuup. Again, I did similar things but didn’t think they were worth including in my portfolio.
Not, I thought, much better than psychedelic wall paper.
I made the one above a bit later, focusing on the sort of Surrealist imagery, but soon lost interest in this sort of art making.
As I said, I only recently discovered Richter’s dreary digital works, but am really impressed by his abstractions with paint and painting over photos. Those pieces are marvelous and gorgeous, the one below for instance:
Also, I don’t really know who came up with the “stretch a pixel wide column” technique first, me, or him, or hundreds or thousands of other people F’ing around with Photoshop. What surprises me is how uninteresting were his results, and how the art world took them so seriously.
The gallery below are some more abstract digital experiments I did much later, in February of 2014, using only text. They are vector images, which means they can be printed out as large as possible (they are math rather than pixels). Had they been done by Richter, they’d be marveled at and selling for hundreds of thousands, but I haven’t even bothered to include them in my portfolio, because I didn’t think there was enough going on, though I probably should, I guess.
Relatedly, I just saw some new works by Cindy Sherman, where she’s digitally manipulated them. I think a lot of digital artists, or fine artists who have dabbled in using the computer, look at those and think she’s blown away by her new discovery that you can use a liquify filter or something, but for us this shit’s oooooooold. And some of David Hockney’s digital paintings are grotesquely amateurish. These famous artists were slow to work with digital art, and they are treated like they are breaking new ground, when they appear to me to just be getting off the ground, or merely taxiing in the runway.