Generative Art

Texture and Hues

A minimal, live-rendered, on-chain/in-chain, monochromatic token collection.

Texture and Hues #75, rendered by the smart contract.

From Alekxander Rodchenko in 1921 to Matto in 2022.

When Alekxander Rodchenko created the Pure Red Color, Pure Blue Color, and Pure Yellow Color paintings in 1921, he created the world’s first monochromatic painting set. Many artists since have worked with certain specific colors, like Yves Klein and his International Klein Blue, Gerhard Richter with grey, and Ad Reinhardt with his monochromatic journey toward black. Subtleties in application, density, or pattern affect the end results in these paintings, showing these artist’s hands and also elevating the work beyond just a color. Robert Rauschenberg took monochromatic paintings a step further by using texture – with as much absence of texture as possible with his white paintings (applied with paint rollers) to his inclusion of significant texture in his Black Paintings┬áseries.

It is with this historical context that I have created Texture and Hues, an on-chain/in-chain generative art collection grounded in minimalism. The project consists of 256 pieces (256 is an important number/quantity in computing) that traverse the color wheel in a most orderly yet imperfect fashion. The project also explores darkness and lightness and randomly assigned textures. Created as NFTs on Ethereum in the genre we’re calling ‘long-form generative art’, entropy that is assigned at the token’s creation is used to set certain qualities in the resulting pieces. In this project, entropy is used to determine the texture, which can vary from nearly nonexistent and without affecting the apparent brightness of the piece, to extreme and significantly reducing the apparent brightness in the final image.

As a piece made with code, this is the artist’s hand- the usage and control of entropy in the end result. Admittedly, and purposefully, as an experiment in minimalism, I restricted this artist’s hand to only a few parameters in creating this one effect – the texture – while everything else is completely pre-determined. Further embracing minimalism, only a single custom smart contract controls, creates, and powers this project (no servers are used).

Nodding to the medium of being generated live in the browser, the resulting pieces can render differently depending on their scale. No longer are monochromatic pieces locked to a single physical (or digital) size and end-result, with live-rendered images, much more is possible, and Texture and Hues takes advantage of this.

While Texture and Hues is a relatively simple experiment and is being/was offered for free to previous collectors, I do believe it will be a keystone in future ‘Matto’ generative art collections as it combines many of my artistic interests: minimalism, conceptualism, generative art, on-chain/in-chain solidity programming, and most importantly, thanking prior collectors.

To learn more about the historical context of monochromatic work, start with this page on WikiPedia.