Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Darrell Viner at The Henry Moore Institute

 Darrell Viner Early Work 28th July 2011 - 30th October 2011

Computer Drawing Darrell Viner, 1975/6, Courtesy Farah Bajull / Leeds Museums & Galleries (Art Gallery)

From The Henry Moore Institute
Darrell Viner (1947 - 2001) was a pioneer in the field of computer art. He originally turned to computers to pursue his interest in movement and animation and went on to apply the technology to kinetic and interactive sculpture.
Darrell Viner:Early Work focuses on Viner's experimental work at the Slade School of Art in the mid-1970s and celebrates the recent acquisition to the Leeds Museum & Galleries Sculpture Collection of a series of his computer drawings from this period. Created with a pen plotter, which Viner regarded as a pliable drawing tool, the images have a remarkable hand-drawn quality. The artist described them as a 'journey in mark making'.
Together with the drawings, the exhibition includes documentation of Viner's early kinetic sculptures that show the continuity between his work in two and three dimensions. For his degree show at the Slade, he made a set of animated wooden sculptures, which he described as 'creepy crawly creatures'. These were later shown at the Royal Academy, where the moving legs scratched the wooden floor, taking on the character of automated drawing machines. This experiment led to the computer animation 'Inside/Outside' (1976), a film drawn by a virtual automaton programmed to simulate the actions of a kinetic sculpture, which is screened within the show. 
In addition to the works on paper and film, Darrell Viner: Early Work presents a later kinetic sculpture by Viner - from the mid-1980s - that is activated by the shadows of passers by. As with all of Viner's works, this opens a conversation between man and machine to propose an expanded understanding of the study of sculpture.
Viner was born in Coventry in 1946. His father, a clerk, died when his son was only five, leaving his wife, a factory worker, to bring up the family. The young Viner found inventive ways to stimulate his wide-ranging curiosity: he played Beethoven to himself on a wind-up gramophone, and detonated objects with homemade explosives.
After leaving school with three O-levels, Viner worked in the research department at Courtaulds Textiles in the late 1960s, where he experienced computer and electronic systems. When he moved to London around 1970, he worked on the lighting and rigging for rock bands, testing his designs in his landlady's garage. He is known to have built the first sound activated lighting system in the UK in 1968.
The Guardian Obituary "In the last months, Viner had been working on two installations for Thinktank, at Millenium Point in Birmingham, now almost completed. He leaves behind a body of work that will become increasingly visible as people appreciate the enlarged definition of art to which he adhered."
Darrell Viner, artist, born December 12 1946; died November 15 2001.

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