Digital Fine Art by Chuck Thurston




I have been developing two different but related bodies of work:


1) Images from nature that are derived from photographic sources


2) Synthetic, abstract images that originate within a purely digital environment


See portfolio below for a selection of images from each group.


About the images from nature


I think of these images as formal studies involving shape, pattern, texture, color, light and shadow. Photography is a part of the process, but the end result is really more like a painting in that every detail is intentional and has been worked "by hand." My objective has been to explore the essential form and character of the subjects of these images.


My approach to this includes the elimination of distracting unrelated details and other visual intrusions at every level of magnification. This painstaking process of transformation takes place even at the level of the grain structure and the surface textures. Anomalies and discontinuities are removed by replacing them with other more harmonious information that is native to the image. Anything that doesn't contribute to the emerging unity and coherence is replaced.


The intended result is a purified visual description that reveals the innate beauty and authenticity of the subject, while offering the viewer a type of experience that would otherwise not be available. The editing produces a subtle effect that may not be obvious at first glance, but I find that it gives the image an unusual idealized quality that supports sustained and repeated viewing without loss of interest.


About the synthetic abstract images


The origination of these images involves a digital art-making process that I have been developing and refining for a number of years. I am particularly interested in the fundamental decisions that govern any art-making process. We see the artist's innate and unique sense of preference as it inevitably guides these decisions.


Working in the digital medium requires intentional interaction with the generative processes that are used to modify and orchestrate a field of pixels. Conscious choices are demanded almost continuously. This is an ironic reversal of the old-fashioned notion of digital art being "computer-generated." Without a strong sense of preference, the multiplicity of possibilities at every turn would be overwhelming. As with the nature images, one of my guiding priorities is the emergence of increasing unity and coherence.


I strongly believe that the digital world is a part of nature (in the largest sense) and is similarly governed by processes and conditions that offer rich visual possibilities. In my effort to cultivate these possibilities, I have discovered that the expressive character of the unique visual formations that can occur within fields of pixels fields that are otherwise defined by factors of global self-similarity is both remarkable and a bit paradoxical. Where's Waldo? (below) provides good examples of what I mean by this. These shapes are not drawn, they are sculpted by a combination of orchestrated processes and conditions.


Also included in this section are studies in centered symmetry and overlapping crossing patterns.


About the finished artwork


The images in this portfolio exist as high resolution digital files that can be used to produce pieces at a variety of sizes, some up to 48" wide. The archival digital output has a durable facing surface that deepens both the blacks and the colors and also provides UV protection. The images are typically mounted to either sheet metal or black acrylic. Another effective treatment is to face-mount the image to the backside of clear Plexiglas. Each piece has a recessed back-mounted hanging system that provides stand-off from the wall. The art is fully and cleanly self-presenting, and requires no additional framing.


Unlike many digital artists, I am able to fabricate my own work, including both the printing and the print finishing. This gives me complete control over the entire creation process and allows me to experiment with combinations of materials that yield something more than just a service bureau giclee print. The subtle adjustments and repeated testing that go into the refinement of these objects are as much a part of the process as the origination of the image.


Contact me directly, by phone or email, for information about pricing.


Recent Exhibitions


Three of my pieces were included in Digital '07: Pattern Finding, an international juried exhibition at the New York Hall of Science, sponsored by ASCI in New York (Art & Science Collaborations, Inc.). This work has also been included in an exhibition at the Stephens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey.



Image Portfolio:  Images from Nature


Rocky Bank, Pt. Reyes (48"x32" or smaller, digital print) This image began as a 35mm b&w film negative. The film grain has been replaced by a generative pattern that offers an illusion of material detail that far exceeds the original photograph. This scene has a mysterious quality about it that has been cultivated and reinforced by the meticulous editing of detail, providing a clear view of a deeper essential subjectivity.




Tangled Branches, Pt. Reyes (48"x30" or smaller, digital print) As in the prior image, the 35mm film grain has been used as the basis for a generative pattern that has replaced the original structure of the image. The interplay of light, shadow and surface texture is the primary subject of this photograph. I am especially interested in the way that these factors have combined to create confusing depth relationships and an odd sense of spatial ambiguity.


Tangled Branches (detail)




Two Trees, Pt. Reyes (48"x32" digital print on canvas) The grain replacement in this image creates a web-like interconnection between all of its objects. The subject here is the living, dynamic relationship between the two trees, both as pictorial "players" within the visual field and also simply as trees, with all of the weathered markings of their shared history.


Two Trees (detail)




Leaf Studies #1 (24"x18" digital print) This image began as a digital photograph. It has been extensively edited, with the objective of releasing an unencumbered and idealized expression of the essential form and pattern of this particular leaf design.



Leaf Studies #2 (24"x18" digital print) This image reveals the appearance of decaying leaves as they would look without other damage. The subtle harmony of tones, texture and color is the focus of this piece. The elimination of physical defects and other visual distractions allows the beauty of the pure forms to become available to the viewer.




River Secrets (24"x16"digital print) The dense redwood canopy creates a realm of impenetrable darkness just beyond the boundaries of this island of light.




Patience (48"x30" or smaller digital print) These rock formations from Bryce Canyon reveal the remarkable effects of time and erosion within a very specific and localized set of geological conditions. The extensive amount of work that I have performed on this image has been motivated by a desire to honor and celebrate the glowing richness of color and the peculiarly lifelike character of these inanimate forms.




Elders (48"x30" or smaller digital print) This image is also from Bryce Canyon, but the character of the formations and their nearly monochromatic coloring evokes an entirely different feeling.



Badlands (32"x21" digital print) A sculpted landscape.



Rocks and Trees (48"x32"digital print on canvas). Multiple scans of color transparencies provided the visual sources for this image. The eventual development of this composition involved selective layering and recombination, in addition to the kinds of processes described above. The pictorial ambiguity is a vehicle for showing the interwoven relationship between the organic and the inorganic, while the overall effect conveys the innate exuberance of life energy.


Rocks and Trees (detail)



Near and Far (48"x26" or smaller digital print) This is a study in form, color and texture that suggests more than it describes. It is born from a sense of delight that arises from spatial relationships and pictorial elements that are open to multiple interpretations.


Rockscape This is a photograph from Bean Hollow Beach, south of Pescadero, along the California coast. It offers a little taste of the remarkable tafoni formations that are found in this particular area. I like the wonderful colors and shapes and the strange sense of this scene being much larger than it actually is.


Receding Waves Here we see a pattern left in the sand after a wave has receded. I am intrigued by the complex overlapping depth of these shapes and their lifelike "reaching" appearance that mimics the dynamic characteristics of organic growth.




Image Portfolio:  Abstract Images


Form & Motion #1 (digital print) This is a synthetic (non-photographic) image. It is part of a series based upon random patterns that have been enlarged and repeatedly transformed. The real subject here is the interplay between randomness, coherence and artistic preference, leading to the emergence of life-like shapes within a digital environment.



Form & Motion #2 (digital print) A variation within a series.



Where's Waldo? (42"x26" digital print) Where is Waldo these days? This is another image that began as a random digital pattern. It went on a very long journey to arrive at this destination. I find these shapes to be oddly humorous. They also appear to be fully engaged in the outworking of some sort of nonverbal narrative.



Where's Waldo? (detail)



Forest Story (digital print) Modified tree branch shapes are mixed with abstract elements to suggest both a place and an unfolding narrative.



Color Wave (digital print) Superimposed waves of color reveal a subtle but complex harmony.


In the Beginning (digital print) This is a study in formative dynamics and the emergence of shapes with attitude.



Dark Terrain (digital print on canvas 48"x30") This is an abstract digital painting that employs the subjective dimensions of shape, texture and shading to evoke a mysterious sense of place that is outside of time.


Dark Terrain (detail)



Spelunk (digital print on canvas 48"x27") After countless twists and turns through unfamiliar passages we find ourselves surrounded by webs of light.


Spelunk (detail)




Falling Light (48"x32" or smaller digital print) A subjective response to 9/11: when a concept of reality shatters, the shards reflect the vulnerability of our enlightenment.


Falling Light (detail)



Radial Symmetry #1 (18"x18" digital print) From a series, a study in centered symmetry.



Radial Symmetry #2 (18"x18" digital print) From a series, a study in centered symmetry.



Radial Symmetry #3 (18"x18" digital print) From a series, a study in centered symmetry.



Radial Symmetry #4 (18"x18" digital print) From a series, a study in centered symmetry.



Virtual Weave #2 (36"x24" digital print) From a series.



Virtual Weave #3 (36"x24" digital print) From a series.



Balconies #1 (36"x24" digital print) From a series.




Contact Info:

Chuck Thurston


360 Langton #105

San Francisco, CA 94103