The Rutgers Business School
An Exhibit held at
John Cotton Dana Library
January – March 2008
Jan Lourie's new show metaprints: wood metal stone is a confluence of imagery from classical and contemporary architecture and sculpture. Lourie combines traditional digital compositing tools with proprietary software to create her timeless prints. Groups emerge from the same elemental images variously composited to reveal different portions and intensities of the source images.
In addition to the metaprints there is a set of vertical banners of images as originally captured. The images introduce texture into the metaprints, but have an independent interest. They are all photographs of metal taken under different conditions of time of day and year, weather, lighting..., but create the appearance of wood, metal or stone - giving the show it's title.
Lourie, a mathematician and computer scientist, explored the relationship between weaving, a skill she began to acquire at age 7, and computer graphics, a new field in the 1960s. Her research bore considerable fruit. She has a number of patents to her credit and she organized the first exhibition of computer art. In parallel she has continued to exhibit tapestry and graphic arts.
The connection between weaving and computers goes back much further than the current era. The grid produced in weaving is, like computer output, the product of a binary process. There are only two choices - over and under. The first known ancestor of the computer was in fact invented by the Frenchman Jacquard to facilitate the process of weaving. The result was that the Jacquard loom ushered in the industrial revolution through the business of producing textiles. Later Jacquard’s punched card system of directing a loom to weave fabric became the functional ancestor of the computer. The Countess of Lovelace said of Babbage's Analytical Engine (developed c. 1833-1840) "it will weave equations the way the Jacquard loom weaves flowers".
The translation of real-world images into a form that could be manipulated by computer and then reproduced as the usable product of weaving was the piece supplied to this process by Lourie. She developed the first complete system (CAD/CAM computer-aided design, computer-aided manufacture) to do this in 1967. A pavilion at the San Antonio Hemisfair was dedicated to the demonstration of her process. This show metaprints: wood metal stone represents a full circle of Lourie’s activities involving the binary processes connecting the loom, the computer and creative graphics.
Sample of scholarly works by the artist:
Reception, presentation & discussion
Prof. Lee Papayanopoulos, Moderator