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Machine-Made

Jul 1 - Jul 12, 2020

Frederick H. Evans and Robert Mallary

SHIN GALLERY is pleased to present a historic group exhibition featuring pioneers of machine-made and computer art Frederick H. Evans and Robert Mallary. Exploring the relationship between technology and art, the exhibition aims to examine the significance of machine and computer-based work – two movements fundamental in shaping the present digital world. The exhibition will be viewable by-appointment-only. Please email info@shin-gallery.com to schedule a visit.

The earliest known machine-made works, produced by Frederick H. Evans, exemplify complex and rhythmic details. Drawings created by a harmonograph - a mechanical apparatus that employs pendulums to create a geometric image - convey Lissajous curves, ellipses, and spirals. The harmonograph first appeared in the mid 19th century and peaked in popularity in the 1890s.

The “lateral” device used two pendulums to control the movement of a pen relative to a drawing surface. One pendulum moved the pen back and forth along one axis, and the other pendulum moved the drawing surface back and forth along a perpendicular axis. By varying the frequency and phase of the pendulums relative to one another, different configurations were created.

Evan’s cyclical patterned drawings were devised with great precision and structure. Mallary’s computer-driven drawings were designed in a quantitative and controlled manner. In the late 1960s, Mallary was captivated by computer programming and cybernetic ideas. The new technological developments allowed for an unprecedented artistic dialogue. The artist hoped cybernetics could serve as an intelligent amplification device that could be linked to the creative capacity of the human mind. Mallary became one of the first artists to create a sculpture by the use of a computer program. The work was included in the seminal exhibition Cybernetic Serendipity in 1968 at the ICA, London.

In Mallary’s own words, "My contributions to computer art over the years include: learning to write and use my own computer programs; developing the first program, TRAN2, for the computer-aided design of sculpture; developing the first program, ECOSITE, for the design of land reclamation and earth sculpture; developing a series of large programs oriented to the lineal character of computer-driven pen plotters; developing a large library of tutorial programs and subroutines (over 150 in all) to support my creative work and teaching; and creating and exhibiting a large oeuvre of computergraphic art that has drawn upon the resources of this library. I have also written articles and lectured extensively on computer art."