Colin Goldberg: Metagraph Series
My Metagraph works began as an ongoing series of abstract digital drawings begun in 1999 when I was living in New York’s East Village on Avenue A. The pieces were created using a graphics tablet and stylus using vector-based graphics software. They have now developed into a new body of work – an ongoing collection of 23-second audiovisual NFTs.
Vector-based graphics represent each line, color, and shape mathematically instead of in a grid of pixels. The majority of digital images, such as those created with a digital camera, are referred to as ‘bitmap’ images, which use the more common grid representation; this results in a finite resolution – they are ‘pixellated’ when enlarged past a certain size. Vector-based graphics allow for infinite resolution and scalability to any size.
The name “Metagraph” stems from the concept of the actual artwork being, in essence, code which represents the color, geometry, and curves that the machine records from the movements of the pen on the tablet. Thus the compostitions are ‘meta-representations’ which are manifested physically into an object, rather than a physical object which is reproduced digitally, such as the ‘Giclée Print’ (in its traditional usage).
From an art-historical perspective, these works draw broadly upon two traditions – the idea of ‘automatism’ and the use of industrial materials and processes within a fine-art context. The idea of automatism, which started with the Surrealists and continued with Abstract Expressionists such as Pollock, is based around the use of the subconscious to generate subject matter, which in this case, is fully non-representational. The works are titled once complete using free association.
The use of industrial materials continues in the tradition of Warhol and other Pop artists who recontextualized the commercial techniques of the time such as silkscreen printing. Today’s counterparts are technologies such as large-format digital printing and vector graphics, which are the basis for the majority of signage and branding that we encounter in today’s popular culture.