September 1985

Artist Statement September 1985

Computers are taking their place among the repertoire of artist’s tools. Artists who take up the challenge of this new technology must find their own ways to make use of it.

Darcy Gerbarg


March 1985

Artist Statement March 1985

Seven years ago artists were saying that we’d be able to do many “new things with computers that would enable us to make great new art works.” Seven years later the struggle goes on. During this time I have been able to make many works of art but the expectation remains that there is much more to be achieved. Perhaps artists have felt like this in all times working in all mediums.

Darcy Gerbarg

December 1983

Artist Statement December 1983

My work does not derive from science per say, but rather is dependent on a technology that was originally developed for scientific purposes. The technology is computer graphics, a development of computer science, that 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 graphics techniques for their specific applications and now these tools have become available on a broader scale, to artists. A few artists were involved with this technology at the very beginning stages, but it was not until the development, by Alvy Ray Smith, in 1979 at the New York Institute of Technology, of a user friendly, interactive color paint system, that I became involved in using computer graphics technology to create my images.

Until that time I was primarily using pigmented paint mediums to make paintings. Frustrated by the limitations of physical mediums and believing that the leading artists of each generation were using, or in the least aware of, the latest technology in their fields, I set out to find out what the latest technology was for the visual arts. I was familiar with electronic music and thought there would be a counterpart for visual composition. I was not interested in moving images and so did not consider film or video.

From the second I first used a paint system, I knew I had found the tool that would best serve my sensibilities. It was direct, controllable and seemingly infinite in its capabilities. My career since that time, in 1979, at the New York Institute of Technology is the record of my explorations in this new medium, the development of computer graphics technology and its applications in the production, or fabrication of art works in many other mediums.

In addition to making art I have felt compelled to promote the field in general by organizing and mounting the first professional art shows for SIGGRAPH, public talks and presentations, university teaching at New York University, the Pratt Center for Computer Graphics and starting in the fall of 1984, the School of Visual Arts, in New York City. In June 1984 Abbeville Press will release, Art in the Computer Age, an art book which I am co-editing with Cynthia Goodman. ( Updated information- I withdrew from this book project to create and direct the Graduate Program in Computer Art at the School of Visual Arts and Dr. Goodman wrote the book with Abbeville Press)

My interest in physical reality, as distinguished from movies and video, led me to architecture. It is in this arena that I hope to make the best use of computer graphics for designing and previewing large scale human environments, for which I will then have tiles, carpets, murals, etc. fabricated. 

Darcy Gerbarg

November 1982

Artist Statement November 1982

My Background is in painting. I’ve used many mediums including acrylic, watercolor color, silkscreen, lithography, etching, paper, ceramics, etc. The computer is my favorite. It is closest to my sensibilities. It allows me to create images in an endless variety of ways and constantly challenges me to try new ideas. In a way making the image on the computer is the easy part. The hard part is taking image off the system and turning it into an art object, i.e.. physical reality. Until I have a finished art work in some physical medium the image exists only in the memory of the computer or on the CRT (TV screen).

Many artists are interested in moving pictures, film and video, but I am not. I want my images to up over time as all great works of art have from the past. The challenge for me is to develop ways of creating images on computers, and then take them and fabricate finished works that can hang on walls, cover floors or ceilings. To date I have done editions of prints, ciba-chromes, ceramic tiles, printed fabric, and murals on canvas using my computer images.

Each physical medium has its strengths and limitations. Part of the difficulty is determining what medium will enhance a specific image. Finding new ways to take information from the computer system so that this information is in a usable form is another area that requires a lot of research. Each time I create a piece it is the culmination of experimentation with many parameters.  Of course I remain an artist and keep aesthetic concerns in mind as I work.

I am a formalist painter, I paint directly with light, colored light.

Darcy Gerbarg

September 1981

Artist Statement September 1981

I use highly interactive, user friendly computer paint systems. Because of this, the transition from pigment (paint) to computers is not as great as one might imagine. Instead of mixing a pallet of paint before beginning to paint, I mix light to create a colormap. Colormaps and pallets are very similar. Each contains a specific set of colors. When working with pigment, I would choose brushes to paint with, of varying sizes according to my needs. On the computer I create the brushes I wish to use; thick ones, thin ones, multicolor ones. There is virtually no delay between the act of creating a picture on a computer and seeing it created. The picture happens in ‘real’ time. If I choose to change a color or remove a line, I can do it easily on a computer. I can work and rework a picture until it is exactly what I want and then have the computer give me a full color slide of the image. The image can also be stored in the computers memory, manipulated or transformed.

I am usually aware when I create an image on a computer of the medium it is intended for. I show my work as slides, photo- enlargesents, serigraphs, etchings, lithographs, murals, ceramics, video and film. Each medium has distinct properties and limitations.  All pictures do not translate well into all physical mediums.

This is currently an area of major concern to me. It bas led me to explore a number of imaging teclmiques. The work in my current show represents these explorations.

Darcy Gerbarg