For me, it's difficult to view one of dmarchi’s works without considering the totality of his output. As an artist, he’s enjoyed a steady progression that began with Strands, his third release on fxhash, and came to a natural conclusion with Bravura, his sixth and most recent solo drop. That’s not to say his earliest releases like Pinches weren’t integral, but rather that, stylistically speaking, the latter four are more closely aligned.
In Strands, he began to use lines that give a handmade feel to the outputs. They are ‘broken’ in a way that makes them less perfect than digital work tends to appear. With the basic grid structure as his basis, he allows the lines to get confused about where they belong on that grid.
These lines that move through the grid, and build images within it, are a technique he continued through to his following release Pittore. Instead of constraining lines within the grid structure, he allows the grid to get abstracted so that the lines start creating textures that allude to a grid — albeit a skewed one — that is more textural than explicitly defined. Pittores’ palettes become a bit wilder, and the colors are used more as compositional elements than before.
After exploring how to make the digital brushes come across with more humanity and how to use color as compositional elements, dmarchi developed the painterly technique we find in Aspergo and Bravura.
In a conversation I had with dmarchi about Aspergo, he says, “Through the use of random walkers for the brushes, I lost control over the final composition, which changed the way I was thinking about building the whole thing. I began painting IRL to better understand the process.”
By working with paint, he understood how better to build an image from the canvas up. It allowed for a natural harmony between color, tone, and depth. This approach gave him the ability to go deeper into color theory within specific palettes and gave him the capacity to code a wider variety of outputs.
Aspergo is a beautifully conceived collection of paint drips, lines, and sometimes rigorous compositional elements. The occasional inclusion of the disc shape gives the series a less purely abstract feel, unlike in Pittore or Bravura, where abstraction reigns.
With Bravura, there are no easily recognizable shapes/forms that get created. These pieces are much more about the feeling, the application of paint, the texture, and the brush strokes that are usually reserved for Abstract Expressionist paintings from the post-World War II era. The blending of color and brush stroke, along with the marks that get made along the way, contribute to the painterly, naturally expressionistic feel of each resulting iteration.
Bravura, like all the previous works, leaves the animation evident in order to show the viewer the creation process. This is something that I think is special about how generative art can be made. Unlike in painting, where there is a lot of guesswork about how the paint is applied, the generative art animation process shows precisely where every mark is made. Each one is decisive in nature and is clearly there with purpose (even though an algorithm semi-randomly creates that purpose).
To this end, the final image created by Bravura gives the impression that the work is an oil painting. That the syntax of the artist’s hand is somehow present through the code is very impressive. It resonates with me in a way that very few other digital works have and continues the tradition of good artists using the tools at their disposal to create masterpieces.