Laura De Decker creates abstract images using computer programs that she writes to transform existing colour models (eg. colour test patterns, colour wheels and Cartesian cube) to view colour in dynamic ways and explore aesthetic possibilities, constantly re-categorizing, redefining, and re-contextualizing objects and their attributes. The images result in digital prints and video. She has a BA in Art and Art History from University of Toronto and Sheridan College, an MFA in Visual Arts from University of Victoria, post-graduate studies in Interactive Multi-Media, and taught in the CCIT Program, Sheridan. She presented her work at Quintessence at Banff New Media Institute and created a video for the Penderecki String Quartet’s performance at Perimeter Institute’s Quantum To Cosmos Festival. She has exhibited across Canada, recently at Ed Video Media Arts Centre and at Rotunda Gallery. The exhibition catalogue for Interzone 002 was published by Ed Video.
I create abstract colour images using computer programs that I write as a tool to facilitate my intuitive exploration of fundamental visual elements. The images I create are printed as large-format giclée prints. In regard of the theme “The Resistance to Change,” the technology I use is over fifteen years old but allows me direct control of every pixel in my images with the use of my computer code. This process of working with form and colour in an integrated way enables me to better explore aesthetic possibilities; I choose carefully defined parameters to zero in on abstract ideas.
Computers typically use the RGB colour model, often visualized as a Cartesian cube, and interpret colour as a three-dimensional array (i.e. red, green and blue) but the same information can be expressed in other forms such as a sphere. My work cracks open the Cartesian cube and navigates the terrain between cube (Cartesian coordinates) and sphere (round coordinates) using hybrid coordinate systems that I develop to produce two-dimensional images from virtual three-dimensional forms I construct using my unique computer code. I am interested in creating spherical forms that make the components and pattern of construction visible and establish correlations between geometric form and colour to contribute to the visual reading of both elements. An example of this is creating algorithms that express attributes of form and colour using a common variable (mapping one attribute to another) where at times these elements simultaneously reinforce and contradict the surface.
I find resonances between my work and Bauhaus and Op artists’ work, especially Josef Albers and Victor Vasarely. My work has similarities with the systematic approach, precision of form, and visual ambiguity characteristic of works by Albers, Vasarely, Bridget Riley, Claude Tousignant and Guido Molinari. My use of computer technology extends Albers' use of coloured paper to conduct visual experiments. My process employs mathematical and scientific approaches while building on art historical investigations into colour, form and aesthetics.
Twelve-tone serial composer Anton von Webern recognized parallels between Goethe’s ideas expressed in Theory of Colours and his own development of twelve-tone serial compositions. My video to accompany the Penderecki String Quartet’s performance of Webern’s Opus 5 uses sequences of images created using my computer code to create abstract animation. Expressing similar ideas as Webern with his music and Goethe with his aphoristic writing, I transform existing colour models (eg. colour test patterns, colour wheels and Cartesian cube) to view colour and form in a multitude of dynamic ways and explore aesthetic possibilities. Although there are definite resonances between my work, and the work of Goethe, Webern, and Webern’s contemporaries such as Wassily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian, there are also differences. For example my work is positioned between Goethean and Newtonian investigations of colour. Whereas Goethe’s Theory of Colours is a collection of intricate and varied qualitative observations of colour, Newton chose quantitative methods of classifying colours. I am engaged with the potential for creative discovery that exists between conventionally oppositional ideas including ones Goethe or Webern rejected in their time.
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