William A. Brown
I take the idea of being an Expanded Photography artist seriously, perhaps to an extreme level. I’m mainly known as a video artist but have always taken still photographs. In the past few decades I’ve also been producing virtual works of photography based sculpture (with one realized example). In 2019 I stumbled upon a way of creating true aleatory digital pre-painting images that I covert into archival oil paintings using robotic painting devices that are just now coming on line. In 2023 I began designing works for a video wall frame. These frames are probably the future of wall art. Works for this display modality include digital paintings and slow motion video works.
I amuse myself with many conceits but I have a particular fondness for my importance as an artist with a track record for serious explorations that push the boundaries of what exactly defines painting, video, and sculpture in this era of exponential technological change. With painting I’m trying to find new digital solutions for the coming era of painting by robots. With sculpture I’m proposing incorporating photography as a source material for public art, believing the realistic imperative of the lensed image will make public sculpture relevant. With video I’m trying to shoot as if I’m a still documentary photographer but shooting slow motion video. Blurring the definitions of what painting, sculpture, and video can be is my mission as an artist.
In my latest my latest work, Paintings for a Robot, I’m proposing the use of film editing technologies to rapidly create randomly merged images that can be made into paintings in the near future by robots. In this way I can apply John Cage’s aleatory strategy at exponentially expanded speeds. This methodology allows me to create merged images by the tens of thousands. I become a curator of the process, selecting digital images I think will make unique paintings when rendered by a painting robot.
Phase II of my Paintings for a Robot initiative involves down loading famous art works and reconfiguring realistic images using multiple montage strategies.
Robots right now are capable of creating high resolution paintings. This means artists will be freed from the time consuming tedium of fine art painting. I consider myself a pioneer in the use of digital techniques to create “pre-paintings” that will be rendered by robots that have mastered the highly complex task of applying precisely mixed paint to a flat surface creating the kinds of images that have made painting, historically, the medium which has defined the visual imagination of our most brilliant artists.
I would describe the work I’m known for as Minimalist Videos. These wall art slow motion videos exist somewhere between photography and film. They are intended to be displayed on a wall like a painting and viewed over time. There is no compelling narrative in these experimental works. I am interested in what the slow motion reveals about people in their public personae, lost in thought if on the street, or emotionally consumed by modern tribal activities such as parades, sporting events, marriage parties, etc.
I was originally a traditional black & white photographer using 35mm and view cameras. Later I became interested in film and video. I currently work in digital video and photography to create virtual and actual works across many media.
Works produced as an artist: Avant-Garde films and videos 1976- present. Still Photographs: 1972-1976, 2006-present. Documentary Videos: 1976-present. Photo-Sculpture Proposals: 1990-present. Paintings for a Robot 2019-present.
"Fifty years ago Atlanta artist William Brown began his career as a photographer. After building a longstanding reputation as a filmmaker and videographer, he has turned his creative attention to a new medium—painting, albeit not in the traditional sense. After digitally sampling imagery from art history, Brown collaborates with cutting-edge robotic-painting technology to create uniquely provocative, culturally critical compositions dense with multilayered imagery." Tom Patterson, art writer, and independent curator. Author of St. Eom in the Land of Pasaquan & The Tom Patterson Years: Cultural Adventures of a Fledgling Scribe.