Tom R. Chambers
Documentarian, Visual Artist, Curator, Educator
Returned Peace Corps Volunteer in the Arts Zimbabwe, 1993-95
Research Analyst, Lunar Receiving Laboratory, Apollo Program, 1969-1972
THE PRIMORDIAL PIXEL
Primordial: constituting a beginning; giving origin to something derived or developed; original; elementary.
These pixelscapes are similar to Color Field painting that emerged in New York City during the 1940s and 1950s. This movement places less emphasis on gesture, brushstrokes and action in favor of an overall consistency of form and process. In Color Field painting, color is freed from objective context, and it becomes the subject in itself (Themes in American Art: Abstraction, National Gallery of Art, Web, May 9, 2010).
Color Field painting emerged out of the attempts of several artists to devise a modern, mythic art. Seeking to connect with the primordial emotions locked in ancient myths, rather than the symbols themselves, they sought a new style that would do away with any suggestion of illustration (theartstory.org/movement-color-field-painting). Jackson Pollock, Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Ad Reinhardt and Arshile Gorky (in his last works) are among the prominent abstract expressionist painters identified as being connected to Color Field painting in the 1950s and 1960s (Smithsonian Museum Exhibits Color Field Painting, December 7, 2008).
By the late 1950s and early 1960s, young artists began to break away stylistically from Abstract Expressionism experimenting with new ways of making pictures and new ways of handling paint and color. In the early 1960s, several and various new movements in abstract painting were related to each other. Some of the new styles and movements that appeared in the early 1960s as responses to Abstract Expressionism were called: Washington Color School, Hard-edge painting, Geometric Abstraction, Minimalism, and Color Field (Smithsonian Museum Exhibits Color Field Painting, December 7, 2008).
Chambers' pixelscapes above - and his earlier works with the pixel - are an attempt at equating this picture element with the various aforementioned movements.
"PP-1, PP-2", "The First Catskill Digital Art Show" (group show), The Atelier Progressif Creative Art Space, Catskill, New York, U.S.A., March 11 - April 8, 2016.
1. What inspired you to create this artwork?
I have been working with the pixel since 2000, and its various configurations and color fields found within magnifications of images inspired me to equate this unit(s) with Color Field painting that emerged in New York City during the 1940s and 1950s.
2. Where do most of your creative inspiration come from?
Kazimir Malevich's Suprematism.
3. How do you choose new ideas derived from the creative process?
I continuously visualize the pixel as Minimalist art.
4. Could you please talk about how you felt about the importance of your research applied to your art when you were creating?
This visual poetry contains the ironic connection between Modernist philosophy which moved visual art from figurative representational pictures of the physical world into an expressive and emotional world of abstraction; and, the digital realm in which the purely abstract unit of one pixel off - one pixel on, has been utilized to reproduce once again, the physical world. Now, I show a path by which this tool, which so often serves hyper-reality, is forced to reveal the abstract soul at its very core.
5. As an artist, what do you most want to tell the viewers?
Enjoy this feeling of non-objectivity... the creation of a sense of bliss and wonder via abstraction.