G R O U P  K 1 6 ,  D I G I T A L  E X P R E S S I O N I S M

O n e  v i s i o n ,  o n e   s t a n d a r d


To many artists and art lovers alike, digital painting associates with one of the most popular software programs ever written. Likely, The smooth images will spring to mind that appear on the screen at a search for 'digital painting'.

To 'shop' an image has become a standard concept. Via red eye reduction and the retouching of pimples and warts, its meaning has extended to the more ambiguous notion of manipulation in general. Indeed, Photoshop is at the heart of what many consider to be two characteristic features of digital painting: Never before has it been easier to make a photo look like a painting. And never before has it been easier to master a technique.

The use of photography in painting is, of course, not new. Over the centuries, artists have used a variety of tools to project reality on their canvas as raw material to be digested, translated, molded into their subjective interpretation of the outside world - including, since Leonardo da Vinci, the camera obscura. However, digital painting makes a long standing practice much easier, and tools for digital manipulation create a diffuse transition zone between photography and painting.

A real novelty is that technique is no longer a barrier to the amateur. Anyone using a painting program can make a watercolor, an oil painting, a lithography. The computer has brought techniques under our fingertips that take traditional painters years to master and a repeated effort to execute. Moreover, the digital artist can undo every brushstroke without a trace and enjoy a freedom to correct and experiment that hasn't existed before.

If this seems easy, or even 'the end of painting' as a professional skill - don't worry, it is not. Digital painting brings its own technical difficulties and skills. More importantly, it will almost certainly turn out not to be about touched-up photo's, prefab forms, fancy brushes, striking arrangements of impossibilities or awesome sizes. The odds are that it will develop into what art has been in all times and places, an expression of our inner selves, of moods and passions, the rhythm of our times and surroundings, an echo of living and breathing existence.

The digital paintbox is not an end but a means to us, a painting not the soul of a new machine but the reflection of a human heart. We share an interest in each others work, the need to express our inner stirrings in colors and forms, the joy to explore the possibilities that mark-off digital painting, and the commitment to help digital painting take up its place in the Visual Arts.

Amsterdam, 2 February 2015

Dotti, Helene Goldberg, Amparo Higón, Pauline van de Ven, Patricio Villarroel Bórquez