I love to experiment in the fuzzy overlap between art, mathematics, and programming. The computer is my canvas, and this is algorithmic artwork—a partnership mediated not by the brush or pencil but by the shared language of software. Seeking to extract and visualize the beauty that I glimpse beneath the surface of equations and systems, I create custom interactive programs and use them to explore algorithms, and ultimately to generate artwork.
In the world of chaotic dynamical systems, minute changes in initial conditions produce radically different results. The interface of my software gives me hooks into the algorithms and allows me to exert some control. But there is always tension—between the computer and me, between simplicity and complexity, and between problem solving and spontaneity.
Art and mathematics, the right brain and the left, are inextricably linked in this work. My art depends on mathematics, yet simultaneously illuminates and unravels its beauty. I am the explorer who uncovers something extraordinary, bringing into view that which was always there to be discovered.
A second crop from "Trefoil".
When I prepare an image from my Aesthetic Explorations series of strange attractors for print, the first step is rendering a very high resolution, high quality 16-bit grayscale image from my custom software.
While these images are destined to spend some time in Photoshop in a process of recoloring and enhancement, I find that they are very beautiful in and of themselves. The nature of algorithmic artwork (and fractal phenomena in nature in general) is that there is captivating detail at all scales.
So, I have pulled out the best 4" x 6" crops of the raw black and white output for you to enjoy as well. I think of them as “process” prints, and I first displayed them at my solo exhibition, Process and Influence, in early 2011. This is a crop from my artwork "Trefoil". Prints of these and other artworks are available at http://store.nathanselikoff.com.