Generative Art in Argentina is associated mainly with two names – Eduardo Mac Entyre (1929 – 2014) and Miguel Ángel Vidal (1928 – 2009). Both artists are the main representatives of geometric abstract art in Argentina.
Their biographies hold many similarities. Both of them have shown artistic skills at an early age, at first studying pieces of the Old Masters. Then their interests moved towards modern and avant-garde art. Despite this, for a long time they remained in the area of figurative art, inspired mainly by Cubism. A breakthrough came in the year 1959 when the two artists met. Together, they established the Generative Art movement and issued their manifesto. A year later, supported by collector Ignacio Pirovano and the director of Museum of Modern Art, their first joint exhibition came to happen. It was Ignacio Pirovano who suggested the term ‘Generative Art’ as a label matching their artistic endeavors.
Characteristics of generative painting: Generative painting triggers a series of optical sequences. A ‘Generator’ in this case is a line or geometrical figure, which through its movement multiplies and creates new objects, geometrical forms. Paintings of Vidal and Mac Entyre are composed of hundreds of lines, some of them seem to be swirling in space, they imitate movement and fade away. They mimic movement not only in two-dimensional plane but also seem to go inwards and outwards the painting, mimicking 3D space. As the artists themselves write in their manifesto, their art is capable of producing FORCE and ENERGY. FORCE is reflected in the fact that forms create a feeling of disattachment from the base plane, while in turn ENERGY is reflected in changing position and vibrations, which transmit energy.
Typical pieces falling into the Generative Art category are characterized by symmetry. They hold a beauty which results from purity of visual geometrical order. Multiplications of thin lines, sometimes barely visible, create an effect of chiaroscuro, vibration and movement in space. This effect is an optical illusion on the retina of the viewer. These paintings based on rythm bring to mind music. The beautiful color palettes, often based on bright, contrasting colors, remind expanding goblets of flowers or exotic birds’ plumes. Yet, at the same time, this art is also associated with technology, and not without a reason Vidal and Mac Entyre are called the pioneers of digital art.
But, they did not create computer graphics – it was acrylic painting on canvas. The compositions were transferred from huge sheets of tracing paper to canvas. The oil paint was administered with chirurgical precision with the use of thin tools and guides. A technique easy to describe but exceptionally hard to use and requiring a watchmaker’s precision. The compositions themselves are incredibly impressive and unique. Each one is different, no pattern ever recurs. They are an expression of the unlimited imagination of these artists.
Both artists are considered to be the most important ones of their times. Their pieces are held in collections of museums, state institutions and private entities both in Argentina and around the world.
text by Anna Kłos
translation by Karolina Kłos