Max Angelo Groff >> Monochrome Pixel Art

The following eight images were exhibited as thermal prints at the Goldie Paley Gallery in 2016. Curator: John Caperton.

SECT (2016)

REJJ (2016)

BAND (2016)

CTRL (2016)

SOPR (2016)

ENTR (2016)

BARK (2016)

MAKS (2016)

Can a uniquely individual spirit exist in a few hundred pixels? I explores this question through monochrome digital drawings, limited to 200 x 200 pixels in 1-bit colorspace.

Psychologically, I am interested in pareidolia, the phenomenon wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern where none may actually exist. My approach to drawing is based in abstraction moreso than representation, and yet I have a tendency to see humanoid faces amongst abstract shapes. Even when drawing abstractly, faces inevitably manifest, and so I must confront my proclivity towards faces in order to complete the drawings.

My process of microportraiture is one of quasi-abstraction driven by a conscious exploration of pareidolia, realized through a lo-fi digital process. Sometimes the results obviously recall Rorschach's inkblots. There are also parallels to Gestalt psychology. I encourage art-viewers to consider aesthetics through a lens of cognition, and also to seek connections to spirituality, in the tradition of Jung.

Technically, I am interested in the ideas of data-minimalism and lo-fi technology represented by the 1-bit digital canvas. My process of using Photoshop in an antiquated manner evokes a nostalgia for vintage computing, such as the classic Macintoshes of my youth.

When drawing digitally, technical limitations free me to be more expressive. I limit myself to using only a small laptop trackpad in order to draw with my index finger. The trackpad is another conscious limitation reflecting the overall "micro" aesthetic, as well as my early childhood memories of fingerpainting.

I embrace monochrome (black and white) as the key to achieving balance and novel expression. I also embrace black and white to push an uncompromisingly graphic aesethtic, refracting my perception of both internal and external experiences.

I believe that graphics hold the power to transcend shape, form, pattern & symbol, thereby revealing the individual spirit.

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