In my visual experience Pac-Man came before Donald Judd, Carl Andre or even
Mondrian. For me Broadway Boogie Woogie will always be an homage to Pac-Man.
My current work explores the visual connection between minimalism and early
video games. Video gaming and minimalism arrived at the same visual conclusion
through different means and by opposite intentions. Early video gaming, or pixel-
based imaging, did not intend to be simple or minimal. It intended to communicate
as much visual information as possible. The problem was that the memory available
to store that visual information was extremely limited. The images created in early
video gaming were so simplified that out of context they are unreadable as
representational images. Early video gaming images are, at best, abstractions.
They are minimal for lack of technology. Minimalism on the other hand, created
objects that were minimal by design and intention Minimalism intend to reduce
the art object to its simplest form. Minimalist objects and images are based
on formal ideas with no reference to image or outside narrative and have the
appearance of a mass produced object. These two separate movements had quite
opposite intentions with very similar visual results. My ongoing work explores
this connection between early pixel-based video game images. Recent developments
include the implementation of dimensional palindromes; sculptural “twins” where
the exact same form renders a different relationship to the viewer after surface
treatment and flipping the orientation of the second form. These combinations
broaden the scope of my post-minimal exploration, seeking to further the aim to create
work that finds an area between abstraction and representation.
Constructed from welded steel and colored with bright automotive enamels, artist
Michael Whiting creates playful sculptures drawing from the forms and imagery
of early video gaming and computer graphics. Recognizing the extreme spareness
of forms inherent to the constraints of pixel-based technologies Whiting states,
“video gaming and minimalism arrived at the same visual conclusion through
different means and by opposite intentions.” Whiting likewise attempts to
communicate as much visual information as possible with his essential forms
that combine the reductive simplicity of the minimalist movement and the sensibility
of pop art in re-contextualizing cultural icons.