Digital Works

It's easy for me to say that this exhibition features the artistic fruits of my excursions into cyberspace, but many of you may wonder exactly what these are..... and how they fit in with main stream art.

Firstly, one must say is that for decades fine art has drifted further and further from public taste. Where as the most popular artworks are usually illustrative, fine art has progressively become more and more conceptual.... often reaching a level that seems incompressible to the general public. The works you see here aim to fit squarely within the "representational" category, although the use of color is often expressionist, occasionally fauvist and, through layering, makes a lot of use of optical mixtures, (a technique I use extensively in my regular paintings).

Over the centuries art has progressed through a succession of new mediums. Many of them were deeply frowned upon when they first emerged, watercolour, pastels and acrylics included. Often these new mediums are viewed with suspicion and seen as being of less value than traditional techniques. But the passage of time has a way of putting new mediums in their proper perspective and today scholars generally accept that art is about self expression and that the means of that expression is of secondary importance. Besides the obvious art forms of original printing, (etching, engraving, serigraphy, lithography, monoprinting etc.), less appreciated forms of expression such as photography and video have also slowly gained acceptance as mediums for fine art and over the past few decades have been the source of countless museum exhibits worldwide.

As we are plunged into the digital age, all forms of communication are being absorbed into this globally accessible medium. It is only natural that more and more artists are turning to the electronic realm as a channel for their artistic expression.

The works in this exhibition were "paintings" in as much as they are created by spreading color, light, shade and tone on a blank (digital) surface. These elements are manipulated to create line and form with the same ultimate aim as any other work of art, that of creating an image that inspires thought and expresses more than the sum of it's elements. Because I am acutely aware of the intrinsically paintless, two dimensional, nature of the medium I find myself absorbed more than usual in the creation of texture, looseness and exaggerated contours and my digital artwork is often more "painterly" than my regular canvases.

Because of the astonishing advances in imaging software there are remarkable similarities between conventional and digital techniques. Brushes, pencils and airbrushes apply color with remarkable control and variety. Filters allow the artist to merge the colors he wants in a variety of textures where layers allow him to keep other elements separate. In fact, the digital domain is extraordinarily liberating. Many of the restrictive fears that limit an artist from developing the full potential of an image are removed as the digital canvas is developed through reversible actions that allow infinite experimentation and fine adjustments to composition.

Chamacho's Avenue

Many of the skills that I am using were acquired whilst digitally re-mastering antique photos of Antigua.

In the fullness of time the most effective digital artworks will not be those that mimic traditional techniques, but those that make the most of the new mediums unique qualities. The efforts I offer today are my first in this extraordinary realm and just the tip of the iceberg of my current concepts. It might be interesting to make this show an annual event to see how fast and how far these ideas develop.

Nick Maley

More digital works

Re-mastered antiques, left to right: Bendals - Newgate St - view from Micheal's Mount


Island Arts Galleries, Antigua, West Indies.


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