The virtual and partial symbolic representation for and replacement of the physical elements of human life are monumental alterations to the nature in which those with access and or witness to technology interact with and within the universe. As the time members of our species engage in and between simulated and physical realities fluctuates the pictures that our perception forms of the tangible elements of existence change. Moreover then henceforth artists' and viewers' respective expressions and or understanding of physical reality in the fine and applied arts in physical space and cyberspace evolve. Summarily one of the phenomenological progressions in this relatively new inter-dimensional dialectic addressing how both painterly and morphically responsive digital textures emerge with the facility of one paradigm translated into the dimension of another (as well as in what could be termed visually hyphenated hybrid forms) is "Hypertexture". 




First, in the realm of painterly aesthetics "Hypertexture" can begin to be defined as "an emergent theoretic of tactility whereby visual art of the physical realm responds to the virtual by out-morphing and or equaling the variations of digitality via texture; pigment and mediated shifts"\footnote{1}. Secondly, "Hypertextures" can be described as an umbrella of pictorial morphologies manifested in the sphere of artifice as responses to quantum changes in the nature of physical; virtual, and artificial realities and in instances incorporating not only painting but photographic; sculptural, and even contextualized digital works as well.


The operative term of this essay first came to this writer soon after viewing Mark Tansey's paintings at the Curt Marcus gallery and reading Arthur C. Danto's statement "that where the picture seems so realistic as to represent all the visual surfaces of the world".  Therein this writer imagined a singular paintings' painterly surface and or surfaces as being representative for and or of all the visual surfaces of the world.  Further, he then posited that if such a super informed work of art in its' approach to this improbable plateau ever made a vain yet ingenious attempt to such an end then that work then might be termed a "Hypertexture".


In relation to the previous idea, if one were to refocus upon tactile exponential responses to digitality would it not render the subsequent explorations as if hypertext's investigation into the possibilities of formatting exponential plot turns and material through systems of fingertip guided computer navigation technology? Theretofore the investigation of the world's real surface matter could in turn bring to the foray an experiential basis that we could once again reclaim as "Hypertexture". 


This writer then when in the course of describing a series of photographs of the abandoned hospital of communicative diseases on Ellis Island taken by the lensman Stephen Wilkes took notice that they seemed to have a "hypertextural" sensibility.  In Wilke's works exhibited in 2001 at Triad Fine Arts on Grand street in the Soho section of Manhattan there were so many textural variations in the rooms of hospital as light poured in upon cobwebs, dust, furniture, detritus, and the surfaces of ruins that this writer used the term "hypertextural".


Subsequently, a following exhibition by the photographer at Triad Fine Arts featured works focusing on two female models placed into settings within an exotic realm. In this Wilkes suite of photographs the duo, one woman of Caucasian derivation and one of African origin (respectively named Allegra and Fatou) were posed both solo and in concert nude in Hawaii for a series of photographs against highly textural landscapes. Here by juxtaposing the human form with exaggerated and variegated earthly surfaces such as hardened lava in the composite interface the works could then be termed "hypertextural".


This writer believes that Wilke's sensibility came about in response to the dynamic digital facilities, which have been presented to the visual artist in recent times. Further it might be suggested that in turn the inward machinations of the mind and eye might be able to capture such possibilities for art in the natural world. It would seem then that Wilkes's accentuated attention to texture almost to the point of fetish would be in response to the premium issue surface compositions and their mimetic digital counterparts have become in the plastic arts. In laying bare a heightened state of physical world manifests Wilkes seemingly is able to exhibit "hypertexture" through both occurrence and composition.


It follows that later in that same year of 2001 this writer was sent to Istanbul to cover the Turkish capitol city's contemporary art Bienal.  Once there and taken with a work by artist Cem Arik in the Hagia Irene church on the Tokapki palace campus where the crux of the Internationale was displayed this writer penned in the article "NoInstanbulshit".



"The two pieces by Arik in St. Irene were oil and glass on mosaic and oil on mosaic. The more striking of the two possessed a slightly differentiated palette where the tiles and in their absence plaster created through subtle manipulations of the depth of color an effect which gave a reading as if one were looking at a digital photo composite. Whereby differing values zoomed in or out at precise intervals, or one might suggest with the advent of the hyper-textural an emergent theoretic of tactility whereby visual art of the physical realm responds to the virtual by out-morphing and or equaling the variations of digitality via texture; pigment and mediated shifts the real forces its way back into consciousness by simulating the simulator and out imitating the imitator. The mosaic replacing the digital the digital receding zoomed in upon brought out to coalesce into an image. The skilled artisan by deadly accuracy presenting the minds options back to itself. Thereby creating a trompe l'oeil for a new age far beyond the power of that medium previous."



Then as it reads Argentine painter Fabian Marccacio described his own entry in the Bienal as "hyper-textural" (as related to scribe Martin Henschel in the exposition's catalogue.)


"I want to keep the materiality of the work in a state of paradox: it is indexical like a photograph but on the other hand literal like a painting, it is flat but hyper-textural."



Besides the fact that pizza with more than two toppings might be described as "flat but hyper-textural"; as Mr. Marcaccio is seemingly the first well known painter to label his own work at least in part "hyper-textural" it begs us to examine his use of the words in connection and in conversation with some of his paintings which he has labeled "Paintants" (while others have used the term "morphs").


Therein Mr. Marcaccio's work as per the concept of a school of painterly "Hypertexture" is a hybrid avenue. That is whereas painterly "Hypertexture" is hypothetically categorized as a body of works of a trans-morphically informed sensibility; Mr. Marcaccio's works are both painterly and digital. Further when Mr. Marcaccio remarked "hyper-textural" he seemed not to be stating that his "Paintants" shown in Istanbul were "hypertextural ("hyper-textural")"but rather that "hypertexturality" is one of the qualities he believes that these works possess within their larger framework.


Furthermore in inference, it would seem that Mr. Marcaccio was not saying in his statement that "hypertexturality" is necessarily the broach between morphs and paintings and or the virtual and the actual in his "Paintants" but, however, that it is one quality that these works possess within their composites (as in that the paint is operatively hyper).  So then in including Mr. Marccacio's works in the conversation on "Hypertexture" we can conclude (though duly noting the painter's reference to the paint within the "Paintants" as "hyper-textural") that as the works in composite are once again painterly digital hybrids (even if in instances in a science fiction movie special effect sort of way) that the entire works and not just the part of the painting where the paint has been described as "hypertextural" can be considered to be  "hypertextural" rendering them germane to this conversation as well (also pursuing an opus which can be categorized as a hybrid avenue of "Hypertexture" is Sandy Skoglund who creates works where digitally manipulated packs of monochromatic animals of a singular specific species are introduced into photographed scenes which many times read as if  stage sets)


Meanwhile retuning to the painterly canvas "Hypertexture" therein seemingly emerges in its infancy as a genre where texture is a utility otherwise morphically informed or where the structural basis of the artist's works are engaged in paradigm shifts as part of the conversation between conversions continuing dialogues.   A prime example of morphically informed "Hypertexture" is Mark Millof's "And the Great Shroud of the Sea Rolled On" (included in the "Hypertexture" exhibit this writer curated outward from this text at the Florence Lynch gallery in June of 2003).  Here rolling seas of paint in a giant continuous matrix composition suggest an elaborate almost architectural recreation of complex computer rhythms informed by pixilated divides adapted from digital transitions.


Contrarily in the works of Ed kerns the conversation broadens in that we discover an artist who (unlike David Scott who as we will see builds "hypertexture" through the use of "hypertexture" the Ken Perlin program) creates textural works not only imitative of outer-world texture but taken back out from the virtual realm as textual textural manifestations composed from images of elements in nature. Meanwhile Kerns' digital prints while translatable as a virtual take on painting are also a virtual take on painting after painting has had its seminal take on virtual realities' imitation of painting.  


In a series of digital prints of flamingos; scarlet macaws, parrots, mammals, plants and sea life a composite based of a singular animal or plant form is repeated and seen at different angles and well chosen poses to form genomic masses.  In the most apropos works of this series to this discourse large groupings of scarlet macaws are brought together in order so that they create a sculptural mass through the texture of multiple versions of the resplendent bird and its' wide wingspans. Here texture is created from a natural element manifested in a digital surround. Thus as the aforementioned photographer Stephen Wilkes returns to the natural world for his photography informed by the unreal heightened sense of texture (allowing nature to articulate an expression of which it is capable though which for the most part lies undiscovered) Kerns turns to nature to inform and create texture within the digital.


So while Kerns digi-texture differs from David Scott's "Hypertextures" (discussed further into this essay) and the "Hypertexture" we are discussing in painting; photography, or sculpture it is yet another "Hypertexture". Further then perhaps Kern's works along with Skoglunds' are a new bridge in the trans-literal conversation between  real and virtual art via their dynamic wit.  Moreover Kerns' works can be read as a formalistic statement as to how the simulacrum is altered by the inclusion of the real as in turn the genome is altered by genetic engineering and or manipulation.


Indeed it could be that if "Hypertexture" is read as having a filmic trans-morphic origin prior to a virtual start that the trans-morphic qualities of "Hypertexture" were seemingly foreshadowed in the work of Jackson Pollock. As cinema was and is able to translate painterly effects {Pollock's un-linear canvases of numerously altered perspectives and trajectories quite possibly set the way for cinemas blazing rushes]'Jack the Dripper's paintings at points were able to appropriate and recreate effects and mood from cinema via texture. 


In Pollock paintings such as "Lucifer" (1947) where it as if the black brings out the green and the green in turn the orange the ephemeral seemingly becomes permanent through colors value holding other colors in space and time in the manner that film holds that which has elapsed as within an illusory prism of immortality -- thus creating the illusion of timelessness which is the core magic of the film genre (perhaps?)


Another important trans-filmic precedent for 'hypertexture" are the canvases labeled 'Moving Pictures" by painter David Reed. In this continuing series of paintings through a seamless facility a visual language is achieved whereby the lush ethereal ambience of film is translated via the works suggested interior texture depicting the movement of the brushstroke in accordance with the series title, which asks one to follow a cinema-graphic outflow of paint.


Moreover, Reed's works of suggested texture are created by way of complex paint application and distribution (though with a lack of tactility that one might wrongly say render them illustrative). Further then being that it is the painter's prerogative to effect his composition as to maximize the effect of a readable filmic wave, Reed's, contained guttural splurges literally re-launch the imagination as they register in the minds eye with a trans–literal sense of creative occurrence as a testament to cognitive apparatus for art in all its manifold bounty of genres and mediums continued existence.  These 'Moving Pictures" are often so trans- literal as to carry across many multiple messages and or meanings. Further then in doing so they carry painting forth into a new subheading or genre within a genre, which could perhaps be labeled texts within texture and to a lesser extent texture within text.




A third artist whose discourse is trans- filmic in its expression is Jamie Dalglish. This painter who creates an Edward Murybridge effect by using vertical wood panels, which read length wise at, syncopated separations, which are meant to affect the photographic/filmic phenomenon of frames per second. These panels are sometimes separated by equal space between placements and at other times are brought closely together in such instances that they run contiguous or continuous (save for edges of the individual constituent sectors). 


The works, which Dalglish has titled "Morphoglyphs", are composed of twelve parts (which are actually the twelve intervals of a harmonic scale) and are interchangeable to the multiple of twelve segments, which can each be placed in 12 different positions for a total possible number of arrangements of one hundred and forty four (within an eight foot square). So beyond the initial reading or placement where the direct progressive effect is decipherable and or possible to imagine the composite work comes apart and fuses back together to reassemble for a hefty variety of perceptual plays upon movements through space and time. 


A well known artist who can now be seen as having been and continuing to be a seminal creator of "Hypertextures" in painting, sculpture, and mixed media is Frank Stella. Stella who beyond his initial abstract expressionist; minimalist, pop art, proto constructivist, and building lobby periods has used and deployed computer rendering and other cyber technologies both in the mediums of painting and sculpture and their intercourse to heighten and extend the repertoire of contemporary art and it's many conversations with artificial intelligence.


Stella has in his later years made the famous stainless steel sculptures taken from time frozen computer images of puffs of Cuban cigar smoke.  These most solid yet ephemeral manifestations of "Hypertexture" are also joined in the stellar oeuvre by paintings sculptural in their ambitions yet multi-layered and architectural exercises in complex design made possible once again via investigations done with silicon technology.


The groundwork for this writer's discovery and partial understanding of this concept then unlabeled now termed "Hypertexture" were the long viewings offered him of painter Roy Lerner's work. Some of Lerner's' many canvases in their composite build-up of "optically active pigment" at times resemble data transfers (an observation Gallery One Toronto staffer Ben Darrah initially relayed to him) via their seemingly fractalized sheens in the physical form. Moreover when re-diffused in the cyber sphere specific Lerner paintings may then imitate themselves imitating the virtual. These Lerner painting's buildups of texture and surfaces seek out space and then help to create this new "hypertextural" vocabulary. Lerner creates an unknowing cartography of conglomerate and composite streaking light build up which then illuminates a multi-perspictivial super thick conduit of information highway mega texture.   


In the work "Waterway" it is as if the viewer is flying in a plane above a cyber fibrous optic landscape with the work having taken on the moving light of the sun above.  Herein the green and dark green over turquoise creates a long deep cast shadow seemingly as if a reconfigured South Seas archipelago. (all realized as if in the way one observes a shadow above a reef and moving across it from an airplane this work all of a sudden presages a sort of counter simacularizing suprematist digitalis).


Indeed Lerner and Bruce Piermarini (the later of whose paintings have in their past incorporation of brightly painted foam into the larger landscape of the work resembled three dimensional virtual projections- though at other time rock climbing practice walls) are members of the "New-New" painters (a self-historicizing art movement founded by former director of contemporary art for the Boston Museum of fine arts Dr. Kenworth Moffett for whom a heightened sense of texture along with fiery color is a common and defining element).  Therein if "Hypertexture" were only about texture and not about the morphic nature of painterly and other medium's abilities to respond to and be informed by transversal simulacra the "NEW-NEW" would be the largest group within this new "Hypertextural" school. But, as it reads the "New-New" might be better grouped as Roberta Smith used the term in an August 2003 art review in the New York Times "highly textured" at this point in time. 


Meanwhile as far as independent trade-markers of the term for computer applications devised to reach greater and greater heights in simulating outer-world physical texture one can easily turn to enter the term into a web search engine. Surfing to the most dynamic of specific information locators for the internet www.google.com and then typing out and clicking a request for … (")hypertexture (") one finds first that hypertexture is a name given to video game environments.  Secondly, as a page on a New York University website http://mrl.nyu.edu/projects/texture/hypertexture.html relates it is also a computer graphics component initially developed by Ken Perlin……"Hypertexture" is an extension of the procedural texture paradigm first introduced in [Perlin85], which allows one to create procedurally generated textures evaluated throughout volumes to synthesize the appearance of highly textural shapes (e.g., flame, fluids, eroded materials, fur) [Perlin89, Per lin98]. We are interested in applying these techniques as an aid to interactive visualization of complex fluid flow [see fireball at right] and light refraction models [see blue glass at right]. Continuous light refraction in particular is a challenging and potentially important area - in general, currently available optical components cause light to refract only at thin interfaces between media with differing indices of refraction. In a medium with continuously varying refractive index (such as in an atmosphere, flame, or other temperature-varying fluid), light travels in curved paths. The ability to model and visualize such light transport is useful for both analysis and synthesis of the effects of such light propagation". ….


Further, software engineer David Scott creates what he terms "Hypertextures" http://www.slate9.com/ds/hype/hype.html# utilizing Mr. Perlin's already noted program "hypertexture"{which he describes by stating "Hypertexture is a method for describing a solid object through a procedural texture. This essentially means texturing in a higher dimension (three-dimensional space), hence the name. Due to the procedural nature of this method, no polygons are used. Instead, surfaces are defined based on mathematical properties".


One might wonder {as this writer thought to do after visiting Professor Kerns in his studio at Lafayette College) that as this transversal dialectic extends both backwards and forwards towards a confluence where the virtual becomes the real and the real the dream and the dream real the texture text and text texture, that as the conversation grows between actualities assumptions and trans-literalities' well crafted morphs that "Hypertexture" does not become in its undoing of the line between genres and its infusion of the life of one paradigm into the facility of another as if the cross-over between life and death undone by the magic that Prospero Duke of Milan conjures which unleashes the storm which blows through to set things right in William Shakespeare's "The Tempest"?


Whence in this work seemingly written by the bard as a letter from beyond Prospero states "we are the stuff of which dreams are made and our little life is rounded by a sleep" a moment occurs where it is as if all that is real and all that is unreal and their place within the very fabric of creation becomes released from within our perceptions' hold.  Thus by the unraveling of the weave between life and death an omniscience takes where not only can be seen the interface of a future overlay upon creation by the virtual but the templates simultaneously for god's creation; mans imitation of god's creation, and virtual realities' imitation of man's imitation of creation anew. 


So in response to virtuality (which for man is but a recreation of his version of the universe gone sensory haywire) humans now turn to recreate from virtual realities' recreation their own creation once more.  And then to turn to another famous Shakespeare line the operative of all operatives 'the play is the thing"….  here texture is in play and texture is the thing.


Lee Klein 2003