joseph nechvatal


Universal Concepts Unlimited


New York





Joseph Nechvatal is a digital artist who works with painting. More

precisely, he works with acrylic-jet paintings that are based on a dense

overlay of imagery that have been programmed for the computer.His recent

exhibition of paintings, titled "vOluptuary: an algorithic hermaphornology,"

is composed from erotic sources that suggest an intense palimpsest of

libidinal energy. As Nechvatal describes in an accompanying essay, he is

concerned with subverting the limits of gender representation through "the

mutable image and performance of pan-sexuality."


In fact, Nechvatal was one of the first artists to work with computers in

relation to painting. As early as 1986, he pursued the notion that the

physical act of painting was less important than the imagery that informed

the results. By the early nineties, he was spending more time in France than

in New York. During these forays, he divided his time between computer

research at the Foundation Claude-Nicholas Ledoux and frequent visits to the

Louvre where he studied the great paintings of Poussin, David, Ingres,

Gericault and Delacroix.He eventually met the late French philosopher

Gilles Deleuze who had a profound impact on Nectvatalís thinking. This

occurred during the time that Nechvatal was finishing a doctoral program at

the University of Wales, where he produced a thesis largely inspired by



While Nechvatalís cyber-erotic vocabulary may defer the attention of some

observers, "vOluptuary: an algorithic hermaphornology" is a pleasure to

behold.It exceeds the limits of puritanical art -- the kind of predestined

art that is so rampant in the marketplace -- and carries us into the future,

beyond the vestiges of solipsism and despair.Nechvatal has given us a

sequence of pixilated paintings, filled with electronic color,

cyber-effects, and a subtle distillation of sexual energy. They are works

that provoke thought and emotion on the level of "a chameleon-like sexual

demeanor ... built from the virtual abyss." They propose a quiet delirium --

fraught with orgasmic punctuation -- as sure-fire in their intensity as any

painting today that hovers between abstraction and representation.



Robert C. Morgan in Tema Celeste Magazine #93(page 94) Fall 2002