A major retrospective exploring the past 50 years of imaginative work created by pioneering digital artist Ernest Edmonds is being launched at The Gallery at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) later this week.
The innovative artist, who is the director of the Institute of Creative Technologies at DMU, uses computers and rule-based systems in imaginative ways to create his work with a particular focus on colour, time and the relationship between the artwork and the viewer.
As well as showing half-a-century of his work, the exhibition will mark the 50th anniversary of Professor Edmonds starting work as a research assistant at DMU – then Leicester Colleges of Art and Technology – where he is working again after a long break.
During the six-week run of ‘Constructs, Colour, Code (1967-2017)’, which launches with a private viewing this Friday night (24 March), Professor Edmonds will also be celebrating his 75th birthday and he said: “I can’t think of a better way of marking that milestone.”
He was recently given a lifetime achievement award for his decades spent at the forefront of creativity by the ACM SIGCHI international society, which represents professionals, students and researchers from around the world in the field of human-computer interaction.
In January he was also made chairman of the board of ISEA International, which runs the major annual international symposia on digital art.
In recent years Professor Edmonds’ work has featured in many exhibitions across the world including in Beijing, Sydney, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, Berlin, the Latvian capital Riga and Washington, DC, as well as closer to home in London, Sheffield and Cambridge.
Now it comes to Professor Edmonds’ own university at The Gallery, located in DMU’s landmark Vijay Patel building, in what is the largest space of its kind in Leicester.
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He said: “The works in this exhibition all use defined systems of construction. They are generated from rules of some kind or another, and many of them are generated by computer code, by my programming computers.
“The drawings, reliefs and paintings all use both geometric structures and procedures. In the earlier works I followed my procedures manually. I was the computer, so to speak. The time-based and interactive works, and some of the paintings that came from them, are all driven by computer code, sometimes including an analysis of images seen by cameras within or near the works.
“Many are particularly concerned with colour. They investigate colour and the way we see colour through the use of constructed systems and computer code. When I look at colour very intently, as all artists do, and at the same time write definitions of the colour in a computer program, new sensations of my experience of colour seem to emerge.”
In some works in the exhibition, from the early Communications Game to the more recent Open Systems Open Spaces, he explores the way people can connect with artworks and with each other over networks like the internet.
Hugo Worthy, the curator at The Gallery, said: “Ernest is one of the key figures internationally in the development of digital arts practice. In this exhibition we are thrilled to show the genesis of Ernest's work through the past 50 years from concrete poetry and painting to immersive digital installation.
“It is an honour for the gallery to be able to provide a mono graphic exhibition not just for a major artist, but for a hugely important figure in the last 50 years of DMU's history.”
‘Constructs, Colour, Code (1967-2017)’ goes on general exhibition at The Gallery from Saturday 25 March until Saturday 6 May. It will be open from Mondays to Saturdays between midday and 5pm each day.
Professor Edmonds’ exhibition follows on from The Gallery’s successful six-week showcase featuring the work of influential contemporary artist Jonathan Monk.
Posted on Wednesday 22nd March 2017