Michel Moyse is an artist, teacher and co-founder/director of the Center for Digital Art, a non-profit organization dedicated to
providing educational resources and promoting art in Brattleboro, vermont. Michel’s artistic career spans nearly five decades and includes works on paper, glass, plastic, film, single and multi-channel projections he calls motionpaintings.
This site is specifically dedicated to recent artwork and motionpaintings. To see older artwork, go to this site.
To see the works “in motion”, go to Motionpaintings (Gallery Simulations), Motionpainting Portraits, Motionpaintings, Camera Obscura Mirror Series, Recycles, Erotic Geometries, and others available in the top menu.
ISABELLE CIRCONFLEXE and A CRAB APPLE FOR MADAME PERRETIER gallery simulation motionpainting segments continue my explorations working with time-based media in a hybrid environment that combines digital media and traditional painting. These works are meant for large screen projection and continuous viewing. M.o.s., 2023 – 2024.
‘Motionpainting is a word use to describe much of the work I’ve been doing over the last two decades: by it I simply mean artwork that incorporates duration yet remains rooted in stillness. Because current technological limitations customarily impose the necessity of viewing these works either as projections in a darkened room or on flat screens, it’s easy to orient viewing expectations associated with film or animation. In spite of the fact that these works are time based, they are not narrative in content or form. As in traditional painting, they have no beginning or end and are meant for continuous viewing. The new province of this art may in fact be duration without development – or, put another way, aspects of ‘now’ in duration. For a more in-depth exposition of my personal approach to ‘motionpainting’, please view the vimeo below (if interested, three additional videos are available on my Vimeo site: Michel Moyse Discusses His Art #2, Michel Moyse Discusses His Art #3, Michel Moyse Discusses His Art #4).
That a work of art occupies multiple spaces is not new, and history abounds with examples: The Medieval diptych and triptych; Egyptian hieroglyphs; and more recently, Cubism, to name just a few. But that the process itself becomes objectified and codified into new modes of artistic expression is, I think, a recent development. The causes for this can be traced at least partially to our perception of reality enhanced through a variety of sensory manipulations – television, radio, video, computer, etc. This creates an environment which is multi-layered; an environment which redefines in fundamental ways what we mean by ‘reality’ and which – and this is the important point – consequently calls for a reinterpretation of what is specifically relevant to us and therefore worthy of exploration and expression. This then forcibly entails concomitant shifts in modes of perception – that is to say, in consciousness. That this coincides with the dissolution of the (largely Western) Cartesian dichotomy of object/subject – of conscious and subconscious; of self and other – need not surprise us. Boundaries are in constant flux; reinterpreted and redefined; both on the personal as well as the sociopolitical level. Process takes precedence over product; form over content. What this points to is, in fact, a new understanding of artistic expression. Concepts of ‘integrity’ and ‘unity’, for example, so critical in defining art of the past – in defining a spatially and temporally homogeneous sensibility (balance, harmony, etc.) – are now modified to include disparate and random sensibilities; to include, for example, the ‘incongruous’ as well as the ‘congruous’, the ‘disharmonious’ as well as the ‘harmonious’, the ‘irrelevant’ as well as the ‘relevant’, the ‘incoherent’ as well as the ‘coherent’. And this, I believe, is the specific purview of the ‘contemporary’ artist.
TOWARDS A CONTEMPORARY PALETTE
The computer is an authoritarian tool – it gives you a framework that invites freedom, then locks you in with zeros and ones (Picasso once remarked that he had no interest in computers because they only give you answers). It also distances you from ‘materiality’ and significant sense interaction (although this is changing). For me, it’s strength lies chiefly in its capacity to store, copy and repeat ad infinitum (I would argue that computers excel in their capacity for design rather than creativity). Be that as it may and ignorant of where this activity would lead, over the years I found the recombinant powers of the computer on any given task or work or project more and more intriguing. I began to wonder, could a ‘work of art’ not ‘move’ and still be distinct from film or animation? What did the ability to use ‘layers’ offer? Could they act as ‘echoes of memory’? Could spatial ‘changes’ be viewed as aspects of ‘now’ in duration? I slowly started to feel my way toward the ‘motionpaintings’ I’ve been doing for the last thirty years. Although I was not interested in exploring ‘narrative development’ in a temporal sense – this brought me too close to film – I began to feel that this new ‘hybrid palette’ had the potential to create a contemporary art form that remains rooted in ‘stillness’ yet reflects the multiplicity of worlds we currently live in. This would prove to be an avenue of aesthetic exploration that I’ve more or less settled in to this day – the creation of ‘motionpaintings’ – work that, for me, excludes customary practices in film and animation and continues to be anchored in traditional concerns, expectations, and goals that we know as ‘painting’.
As of this writing, there are two main options for exhibition: Traditional proiection (or ultra short-throw proiection) and TV monitor. Although each option has pros and cons. either choice entails a specific context that orients the viewer in habitual expectations. Large screen projection requires a darkened room and suggests a narrative ‘film’ experience (narrative elements may be present in my work but there’s no ‘story’ development). TV monitors, on the other hand, can be seen in broad daylight, and while this offers a viewing experience analogous to that of seeing paintings in a museum or gallery, the downside is that monitors come with predetermined aspect ratios. That’s a limitation that creates problems for me because my work often ignores traditional aspect ratios. So when all is said and done, I prefer the ultra short-throw projection because the projected image can be seen in a semi-darkened environment and frame size is determined by the original digital media.
Most of these works are meant for large screen projection (suggested 12 – 16 it. diagonal) or ultra short-throw projection and continuous viewing ((looped). Unless otherwise noted, audio should be played as ambient sound (i.e. low level or not at all).
A note about aspect ratios: Viewing any motionnainting that is not 16×9 on an HD monitor (or 4×3 if SD) will distort the image or add unwanted borders. Please use original aspect ratio for display, presentation, projection or exhibition.
Future technological developments will likely allow displays that can be seen in larger formats and broad daylight. In the meantime, click on Gallery Simulations for a facsimile of what my work might look like in a museum or gallery setting.
For exhibition purposes and maximum quality, please obtain original digital file from the artist.