UC San Diego's Department of Music

January 21, 2009

  When he's not busy with his career as a world-renowned performer and recording artist, department of music faculty member János Négyesy is a prolific visual artist whose medium is the computer. In recent years, Mr. Négyesy has produced dozens of these colorful abstract images, which, although they are produced with a machine, take on the organic forms and colors of nature.

Through February, you can see fourteen computer paintings by Négyesy in an exhibit of his work at the San Marcos Community Center (3 Civic Center Drive, San Marcos).

Mr. Négyesy's interest in visual art began with collages and photo montages he created as a teenager coming of age in Budapest, Hungary. The abstract, experimental nature of his work is in keeping with his passion for new and experimental music by composers including John Cage, Will Ogdon, and Rand Steiger, as well as his experiments with new technologies including synthesizers and electric violin.

"The computer paintings are a continuation of my collages," Négyesy says. "I'm working with the same changes of mood from picture to picture, but on an abstract plane of imagery. Silence is the way to approch these 'windows,' and time is the code to open them."

Mr. Négyesy was an "early adopter" of personal computers who spent hours experimenting with painting and graphics software. Although his images may be influenced by nature, they are completely original - unlike other computer art, they do not use photos, drawings, or other existing images as a starting point.

"The homogeneity and the synthesis in his research is that of rhythm - the rhythm of sound and the rhythm of the image," writes UCSD literature professor Alain Cohen, who has studied Négyesy's computer paintings as well as his music. "In parallel with Baudelaire's synesthesia of all the senses, János apprehends a synergy between various artistic rhythms. The means of artificial intelligence are put to use in masterful control and randomness, the better to render computer simulations of artistic, cosmic, and scientific configurations. The means of artificial intelligence are put to use in masterful control and randomness, the better to render computer simulations of artistic, cosmic and scientific configurations.

"János's methods and hermeneutics of Virtual Reality run the spectrum of a postmodern canvas with a vast array of filters, techniques and variations for the cybernetic brush and pen. They are the syntactic recursivities that govern the various iconic vocabularies and topics. Retouching or blurring the image, or brightening and contrasting it, changing the wavelength, playing with painterly lines, strokes and smears, János invests himself in the syntactic world of the computer's programs. He can invert, burn and dodge a color, fade it or make it more luminous, but he can also multiply and dissolve it. Similarly, photographic distortions, grain, texture and pointillist effects, pixelate effects, 3-D effects, and even the computer means of hiding the computer's effects, all combine the better to orchestrate the remarkable virtual cosmic recursivities, the impressionistic paintings and the references to art history, drawing and the algorithms thereof."

Coinciding with the exhibit, Négyesy performs his popular Soirée for Music Lovers featuring romantic classical music on Valentine's Day, February 14 at 8 p.m., in the foyer at San Marcos City Hall. Admission is $10.

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