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1910 NG01

Museum Link:

Source Link:

Date Minted: October 3, 2019

Artist Description: From my Rotations series. 1920 x 1080  

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

I’m always attracted by contrast. Perhaps that’s simply human nature, being drawn to something that’s emphasized by starkly different surroundings. It helps us to understand things better, when they’re placed beside an antithesis. Therein lies the crux of analogy: This is like this, or This is not like this. We use juxtaposition all the time to fill out the edges of things, experiences, thoughts, concepts, emotions; things which are not readily readable benefit greatly from contrast to elucidate what they are and how they function. Brad Damico’s 1910 NG01 is an exercise in contrast. It is unfancy. It is unsophisticated. But it’s a highly effective exploration of shape and movement and color because of the contrasting compositions Damico uses to highlight different parts of the piece en media res. Should our mind decide to hone in on movement, we find Damico exploring it. Should we instead choose color to focus on, there Damico is again, anticipating our interest with juxtaposition. 1910 NG01 isn’t some virtuosic masterpiece, and it isn’t some reinvention of an artistic sensibility. It doesn't have sights set so high. Instead, it seems to have been meant only as an exploration. And do we not, looking at it for however long it holds us, feel like explorers? Every pulse, twist, curve, movement, and we are setting down further along an aesthetic journey. 

Deceptively simple in construction, the artist’s Superrare tags inform us that 1910 NG01 is a product of a generative composition method. I suppose that comes across most clearly in the piece’s backdrop, the hieroglyphic assortment of black lines arranged haphazardly across a white background. Here they criss-cross, and there they come together to form jagged edges, squares, maze-like corridors. Despite staring at the background for quite some time, there doesn’t appear to be any pattern that the lines follow, though when we zoom out, physically pulling ourselves back, we strangely don’t notice all the cacophony. An odd harmony is communicated in spite of the random assortment of the lines. Though perhaps this is an effect of the piece’s central mechanism, the spinning smattering of rainbow-colored squares stacked one on top of the other. At the piece’s start-point, all the various squares —and there must be dozens— are stacked atop each other, with the background visible in the open cavities of their midsections. But very quickly the squares begin to rotate, and perhaps even shrink, and, actually, it’s a bit difficult to tell what’s actually happening what with the speed at which it happens, but the squares seem to fan out, and now the entire mid-section of the piece is covered in countless strips of color —red, blue, green, yellow; starkly contrasting with the black-and-white background— and it looks almost as if we’re seeing the after-image of a film negative stamped in every spot the squares turn, until now there’s this great pointed mass of color and polygon taking up the central third of the image, the construction of the squares and their movement appearing like some flower, like religious iconography. As quickly as the squares unwind, they begin to reverse their journey, the color sucked back into itself as the squares again come to rest, if only for a millisecond, at their starting point. The movement is endless, the back and forth of the colors: the explosion and the inhalation, the unfurling and the retreat. 

Does all that contrast not just jump out and snatch you? It certainly does me. Even the way the squares unravel themselves is a contrast with itself: sharp and well-defined shapes that move and imprint themselves in ways I find myself struggling to quantify. The starburst of colors upon the black-and-white background. Even the way the colorful squares have a specific and constant construction while the background is built of innumerable intersections of random lines. 

One thing helps to give order to another. One thing helps us to focus on another. The colors seem brighter and more vibrant because of how they are juxtaposed with the background. But the background seems all the more stolid and halcyon when compared with the ever-moving color that’s placed atop it. 

Likewise, this is a piece fascinated with lines, and with what they can create when put together. It is the one coalescent factor that unites the background and the foreground: that straight lines prevail. When in the background, they combine to make us, the audience, imagine a sort of pattern. When in the foreground, they twist and spin and create the illusion of circularity, creating the illusion of curves. I find this especially interesting, how the spinning squares imprint themselves upon the background in such a way as to create gentle curvatures, like that of closed orchids. Even that helps to further define how contrast is the centerpiece of 1910 NG01, a contrast that doesn’t just emphasize the place where disparate parts diverge, but the places at which they begin to resemble one another once again.



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