Bowling Green State University has provided me an opportunity to design new courses that focus on integration of traditional 2D methods (painting, drawing, photography and printmaking) with new media. The courses aim
to introduce the students to the realms unexplored beyond traditional methods, bringing together the best of both worlds, to create exquisite hybrid works. It is during the course of interaction with students, in critical discourse with other artists, through various conferences and journals that
I have often encountered criticisms against the use of digital technology in creating art works. For some, personal gesture and feel for materials continue to be fundamental to fine arts. Others refer to Walter Benjamin’s essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction and talk about the lack of ‘aura’ in the works of art that have been digitally produced. It would be very apt to quote Mihai Nadin in this context who in his essay Emergent Aesthetics-Aesthetic Issues in Computer Arts, characterizes computer art as "canned art", arguing that the artist is limited in his expressions by the predetermined ‘canned’ options offered by the machine.
Although many of the concerns mentioned above still hold true, there has been a tremendous evolution in digital technology especially in the context of art within the last few years. With the development of highly improved and sophisticated hardware, software and peripherals; digital art has been able to establish its own aura in the field of art. The mathematical nature of the image that was criticized by Nadin, has in time proven to be a defining property of digital art. The programmable data now makes the image soft and malleable: hence redefining the traditional concept of the "original."
The same data can now be transformed in its process, function and material. With this dynamism of the medium, and the matrix, the philosophy of art has evolved from ‘reproduction’ of the same artwork with a common matrix, to ‘production’ of distinct art objects even with the same matrix. It is due to this versatility of the medium, the plethora of tools it offers and the convenience of having a small-scale portable studio, that
this new technology has gained respect in the art fraternity over such a short period.
While the traditional and digital media have continued to flourish parallel to each other, carving their separate niches, it is only in the last few years that they have learned to co-exist, cohabit, and even interact. For some time now, my research and teaching has been focused on formulating a response to the above referred criticisms by combining digital and traditional methods to create artworks; indeed they both have significantly provided a strong impetus to curate this show. The exhibition “Perfect with Pixel” brings together works by 95 national and international artists that further this discussion, and brings forth works that are created by integration of traditional 2D art methods with digital technology, providing a fascinating display of creativity & ingenuity. With more than 130 works, the exhibition is a collection of works that are extremely diverse not only conceptually, but also in techniques employed to integrate the traditional and digital techniques.The exhibition also reflects the vision of both BGSU and the School of Art, who emphasize interdisciplinary and collaborative projects. With the final approval of the Wolfe Center for the Arts, due for completion in 2011, the university and the school have made a commitment to promote collaboration in the arts, by bringing both physically as well as metaphorically the faculty of visual art, music, and theater together under the same roof.
I would like to earnestly thank the School of Art at Bowling Green State University, BGSU Galleries and Ohio Arts Council for sponsoring the exhibition and making it possible. A special thanks to Dr. Katerina Rüedi Ray, the Director of the School of Art and to Jacqui Nathan, the Director of BGSU Galleries for their encouragement and support. I also extend sincere acknowledgement and thanks to Dr. Dena Eber and Professor Janet Ballweg for jurying a part of the exhibition. A special mention to all the participating artists; Tiffany Chessar for designing the catalogue; Professor Lou Krueger for photographing selected works for the catalogue; gallery staff for their efforts in installing the exhibition, and to my wife Tripti Srivastava for not just administrative and logistical assistance, but also for her enthusiasm and support.