Painting Roots Swallowed By Technology


When we think about how technology has affected painting, it is easy to explore how photography changed things in the 20th century, but is technology still swallowing the practice of painting today?



There are mixed opinions on whether technology is a positive or negative when it comes to the practice of painting. On a worldwide online opinion paper an article written by Mohammed Zaher  sees technology as a rich tool to aid the development of painting and contemporary art he states :

“Digital technology and modern techniques have had the strongest impact on the art of painting and drawing. In the past, painting and drawing depended on the artist’s skills in wielding his traditional tools – the brush, the pencil, charcoal or pastels. The artist, through conventional and calculated steps, was in control of the density of color, the degrees of the different shades, the realism or abstraction of his work of art. Artists today, on the other hand, operate with clicks of the mouse, video tools and digital colors, which even if they ostensibly mimic Artists today find it more challenging than ever to present original and innovative ideas, and they need to exert themselves and stretch their imagination to succeed.old traditional tools with respect to performance, are still radically different with regard to usage and wielding techniques and to the means to achieve the desired artistic effect from them. There is no doubt that the human touch in the classical school of painting had a major influence on the shape of the painting and the effect of the tools, particularly when an artist used his or her human fingers to place the special effects and touches on his or her work.  Today’s modern technology has, however, reduced the need for the human artistic touch in favour of a vast array of diverse and different tools, each of which is a mechanism that gives access to an even bigger set of tweaking and tuning options that open up limitless horizons for artists to express themselves more creatively and accurately, to the degree.  This stet of limitless options available to the artist has reached such a degree that computer-oriented artists sometimes inadvertently produce magnificent masterpieces by mere chance. Consequently, artwork upon completion may emerge drastically different from the artist’s original conception of the painting…there is no question that contemporary artists are facing increasingly more complex and complicated challenges to presenting distinctive artwork in the face of the many recent technological advances that have expanded and diversified the art world. Clearly, artists today find it more challenging than ever to present original and innovative ideas, and they need to exert themselves and stretch their imagination to succeed. Moreover, the increase in the state of tension that generally surrounds us has become today the strongest force, has among the strongest impact, and is a primary motivator for artists to push themselves and encourages them to continue their creative endeavors without stopping.”

Artist Ed Forneiles, In contrast says that internet art is already dying off, its hype has fizzled out, and artists are realizing that physical work is just a necessary as the use of cyber work. He argues :

“Despite the impact of the internet on his work, however, he says that the term “internet art” is “already super redundant.” “There are only a few artists who work only in the internet, most artists consider it one inevitable side of their practice. I think it’s good to recognise its presence and then just keep moving.”

I find myself agreeing with the latter and feel that eventually we shall return to the roots in order to seek new outcomes. Without technology painting can be a beautiful meaningful thing and the idea of an exhibition where this is all stripped back would successfully highlight this. As Walter Benjamin stated “Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.”

Benjamin, W. and Underwood, J.A., 2008. The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction. London: Penguin.




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