Gilbert Gorski: Pixelation & Pointillism

Welcome back to Principle Art Talk! Today, we’re going to revisit a topic/technique that we’ve touched on before: Pointillism! We’ve written two previous blogs about the technique itself and how it appeared in art history; click here to view those two posts.

Pointillism is a neo-impressionist painting technique. Each composition consists of tiny dots of various pure colors, which appear blended from far away, but as the viewer ventures closer the dots become apparent. This time around we’re going to discuss how Gilbert Gorski uses pointillism and what influenced him to choose this method.

“Andante” 10×48, oil on linen
“Andante” detail
A Little Bit About Gil

Gilbert Gorski has sustained a duel career as an artist and architect. He earned his Bachelor and Master degrees from the Illinois Institute of Technology. In addition, Gorski studied painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. As a licensed architect, he has designed numerous projects such as the World Headquarters for the McDonald’s Corporation in Oak Brook, Illinois, and the Oceanarium, a major addition to the John Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

Gorski has taught design studios and visualization techniques at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Notre Dame, where he held the James A. and Louise F. Nolen Chair in Architecture, and The School of the Art Institute in Chicago. He was appointed the Burnham Fellow by the Chicago Architectural Club and received an associate fellowship to the American Academy in Rome. The American Society of Architectural Illustrators twice awarded Gorski the nations highest singular honor in architectural illustration, the Hugh Ferriss Memorial Prize. Gorski is also the author of Hybrid Drawing Techniques, Routledge Press 2015, and the co-author of The Roman Forum, Cambridge University Press, 2015.

“Acciaccatura” 12×14, oil on linen

Gorski lives and works in western Pennsylvania where he so often finds his inspiration. Gorski’s work so often captivates viewers because of the technique and the fantastical quality each piece possesses. His choice of subject might be surprising considering his architectural background.

“As an architect I was interested in the nature of man-made space. Woods and forests serve as a vehicle for exploring the patterns and infinite labyrinth of nature-made space. For this journey I choose the medium of oil paint“.

Gilbert Gorski
Difficulty of Digital Perception

In a time where screens rule our lives, many artists use the digital world to their advantage. Using social media and websites, artists can capture a viewer’s attention and gain exposure within seconds. However, there’s still something to be said for experiencing a work of art in person.

“Pianissimo” 24×28, oil on linen
Pixelation vs. Pointillism

Gorski is inspired by the way digital images are composed entirely of pixels. A pixel (short for “picture element”) is a tiny digital square that is assigned a number and that number determines what color the pixel should be. Once each pixel is assigned a number, the computer informs the monitor what color to display. Therefore, when we view an image as a whole you perceive a picture, but if you were to zoom in, you’d see millions of squares.

This example shows an image with a portion greatly enlarged so that individual pixels, rendered as small squares, can easily be seen. (Wikipedia)

This concept influences Gil’s painting style, but he accepts the irony in his approach….

Gil’s technique mimics digital/pixelated imagery, but he insists that art needs to be viewed in-person versus as digital reproductions. It is difficult for his work, his longer paintings especially (the majority range from 48-72 inches long), to successfully translate to the digital sphere. The tiniest details get lost online and the overall creation of the painting doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves.

“Delicato” 18×72, oil on linen

For example, when you look at the image of the painting above here in the blog and in the gallery you perceive an overall image. Our eyes pick up the major elements of the piece the water, the trees, and the reflection of the trees in the water. Now lets take a closer look…

“Delicato” detail
“Delicato” detail
“Delicato” detail

As we dive deeper, more colors and texture emerge and we realize the entire image is comprised of tiny dots. All those dots formulate the entire picture we initially perceived. Sound familiar?

“In a time when a profusion of digital images is nearly overwhelming, it is all the more important for art to defy easy accessibility. Oil paintings must be seen in person; I feel an intimate connection to an artist when I see the brushstrokes. And yet – ironically – my work is also influenced by how computers see the world; pixilation and pointillism are not so dissimilar”.  

Gilbert Gorski
Pointillism Pioneers

Lets not forget; Pointillism is a 19th century technique brought to the forefront by George Seurat and Paul Signac. This post simply overviews the similarities between pixilation and pointillism.

Currently on view at Principle Gallery
Click here to view the exhibition

Gilbert Gorski’s The Memory of Trees features 25 new works. The exhibition opened on Friday, October 16th and will remain on view until Monday, November 9th.

Upcoming Exhibitions

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