Mark Wilson is one of the earliest to use computers & software to create art.
July 17, 2015
“The computer is irrelevant to the creation of these images. The computer is central to the creation of these images.”
Mark Wilson, a pioneer in the artistic use of computers and software, is quite happy to make this completely contradictory statement about his artistic practice. He has been in totally immersed in the process of digital art making for 35 years.
A good part of the problem has been the art world’s attitude towards computers. Thirty or forty years ago there was hostility towards art made with computers. That attitude still lingers, but today most artists make some use of computers in their work.
Wilson’s use of the computer is primal in that he writes all his own software and that software is used to create his images.
These recent works by Mark Wilson are reflections of the algorithmic nature of complex and visually rich images. Using the software he has written, these works combine both vibrant geometric patterns with precise and complex textures. The computer, code, and an archival ink jet printer combine to make images that would be virtually impossible to create in any other way. The final image is the distillation of a generative process that creates multiple images. The artist edits these images and ultimately selects the strongest image which will then be printed. Wilson describes the process as a kind of algorithmic expressionism.
While it would be difficult to create these images by hand, there is really nothing magical about using algorithms. It is simply a step by step procedure. The complexity of the algorithm could be emulated by hand, but the computer simplifies and expedites the process.
Wilson embraced this methodology in the eighties and is content in their continued use. If he were marooned on a desert island, he would use pen and paper or paint and brushes. But, in the meantime, the possibilities and potential of writing software intrigue him. Also the technology of printing and printers continues to improve and expand.
Wilson is one of the earliest artists to begin using computers and software to create his art. For the past thirty years his work has been shown nationally and internationally in many of the important exhibits of computer art. He participated in the “Computers and Art” exhibition at the IBM Gallery in New York, Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria, and, more recently, “Digital Pioneers” at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Wilson's works are in numerous public, corporate, and private collections.
Born in Oregon in 1943, Mark Wilson attended Pomona College and the Yale School of Art, where he studied painting with Jack Tworkov and Al Held. He lives in West Cornwall, Connecticut and Neskowin, Oregon.
NEWMEDIA.international highly recommends the indepth interview by GEOFORM with Mark Wilson. It includes a number of superb examples of his work. However, if you have the opportunity to see Mark's work on exhbition, you will enjoy the depth, complexity and color achieved.