Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Michael Whiting: The ‘Dynamic’ Pixelation

Dynamic pixelation – now this really sounds contradictory doesn’t it? If you were brought up during the times of the early generation computers with their economical interfaces and old time gaming graphics, you will probably remember the dithered, pixelated imagery of these machines. These machines were the cutting edge of technology then and most of us rejoiced at this pixelated stuff. But it did not take very long for technology to evolve and that minimal pixelated graphics simply disappeared from ‘everyday gaming’.
Michael Whiting is an American sculptor based in San Marcos, CA who preserves those good old pixels in 3 dimensional metal sculptures. These sculptures are simple and wonderful and he succeeds in giving that old imagery a technological retro feel in quite a monumental fashion. I have seen Mike’s sculptures online several times, and have always wished to see such beautiful sculptures in public spaces in India (which is otherwise dominated by dead politicians or historical heroes molded in conventional bronze. If not these then there are the ghosts of forgotten wars in the form of rotten tanks and airplanes which hog the public gardens. But that’s altogether a different story; we’ll keep it for some other time.)

Mike takes his inspiration from early generation computer graphics, but it is evident that this works as a point of reference for his work and is not a subject. He has transmuted this basic inspiration to create a fantastic minimalism and a clearly legible visual language. I feel that it is his great achievement. Sometimes ideas can be simple and perhaps easy to execute but their impact on the viewer is long lasting. Mike’s sculptures clearly belong to this category.
 Mike creates his sculptures with welded steel sheets and industrial enamel paint. Birds, animals, people and everything else is re-imagined in a pixelated style, welded using steel and painted with nice bright paints. Alongside the sculptures he also creates paintings which follow a similar theme; you can see these on his website and blog.

I hope you will enjoy Mike’s work as much as I did! I’m definitely going to see his sculptures for real in my next trip to the US whenever that happens!
Thank you Mike for the permissions and for sharing the images with the blog. Mike is represented by Edward Cella, LA and Plus Gallery, Denver.