Contemporary 2D digital art takes many forms but some things never change.
The human eye scans an image and looks for boundaries and interest, a reason
to stay or not. Drawing the voyeurs eye to the image and finding a path to
pleasure the viewers brain is not an easy task and one image will not appeal
to everyone equally, but if the image can spark a thought that has an effect
on the viewers thought or attention, then it is effective. The more pleasurable
the attraction and thought provoking the more effective the art.
Richard Rownak started early in his life with an appreciation for visual
design, composition and color that was used in a way that would grab his attention
and force him to notice the impact of the color, design or texture of the art
piece. This basic acknowledgement and enjoyment of the two dimensional image
finally peaked his interest enough to get him start sketching and attempting
some painting with oils on canvas as well as pen and ink. Photography was the
art form that Richard decided to learn and use for a vocation and avocation.
One-man art shows and shows with other artisans over the years have been a fun
adventure. There is a lot of work involved in other aspects of the craft that
make doing an art show a journey. Having the energy and making the time to follow
your dreams is like a great journey toward fulfillment. Richard has written magazine
articles about landscape photography for Petersen’s and won awards in the
Sierra Club photo contest. He has created special effects advertising for a major
motion picture, sold his photographic images to major corporations for their
offices. He has worked with designers of all types to capture images of their
designs of restaurants, buildings, homes and landscapes.
Richard Rownak developed a unique contemporary technique he calls “Scantography”,
as the result of his experimentation into the many aspects of the visual arts.
To commercialize this idea he set up a web site at Scantography.com through which
he sells his greeting cards and instructional PDF. “It’s great to
see how many other ways people have used a flatbed scanner and computer to be
creative.” Though much of Rownak’s work is in the surrealist genre
he has also created many more realistic graphics by scanning live flowers. Currently
his attention focuses on the techniques of 3D programs, whereby he mixes the
resulting still images with other elements to create his intriguing and thought
provoking work. “Life gives us only so much time, we should strive to make
the most of it. Everyone’s enjoyment and interest are different, staying
fresh and open to new knowledge and expression is how I want to spend my time.
In 1973 Richard attended the University of Arkansas and starting a photography
business, mostly doing portraits and working with a local advertising agency.
Much of his time was spent in his darkroom learning about graphical techniques.
After four years of freelancing in Northwest Arkansas decided to explore the
western United States and ended up in Los Angeles where he continued to do freelance
photography, mostly for foreign car companies shooting images for technical manuals.
At first, in Southern California, he did art shows and worked on several movies
as a still photographer he did a variety of tasks for television commercials
and other productions in the art department. In the early 1980’s he studied
video production at UCLA. He shot several black and white 16mm films, with friends,
and spent time creating special effect graphics for motion picture advertising
and writing about instructional landscape photography. He developed a technique
of multi-exposure special effect with 35mm and medium format film. Some of these
images were published in magazines and newspapers. In the early 90’s, while
still working as a freelance photographer, he started working with computer graphics.
One great love was camping with his wife Pam and photographing the western United
States. Richard continues freelance photography and computer graphics work as
well as a full time profession as a Webmaster for a large auto group in Los Angeles.
Richard has won several photography awards and continues learning new skills
and contemporary digital art technology.
Richard has a deep appreciation for historical architecture and the preservation
of beauty. Serving on the board of a historical preservation group, Hollywood
Heritage has been rewarding for him.
Richard's art can be seen at the following internet art sites -
The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. | 2011 | COPYRIGHT 2011
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia Copyright © 2011, Columbia University
Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. (Hide copyright information)
contemporary art the art of the late 20th cent. and early 21st cent., both
an outgrowth and a rejection of modern art . As the force and vigor of abstract
expressionism diminished, new artistic movements and styles arose during
the 1960s and 70s to challenge and displace modernism in painting, sculpture,
and other media. Improvisational and Dada -like styles employed in the early
1960s and thereafter by Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns had widespread
influence, as did the styles of many other artists. The most significant
of the often loosely defined movements of early contemporary art included
pop art , characterized by commonplace imagery placed in new aesthetic contexts,
as in the work of such figures as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein ; the
optical shimmerings of the international op art movement in the paintings
of Bridget Riley , Richard Anusziewicz, and others; the cool abstract images
of color-field painting in the work of artists such as Ellsworth Kelly and
Frank Stella (with his shaped-canvas innovations); the lofty intellectual
intentions and stark abstraction of conceptual art by Sol LeWitt and others;
the hard-edged hyperreality of photorealism in works by Richard Estes and
others; the spontaneity and multimedia components of happenings ; and the
monumentality and environmental consciousness of land art by artists such
as Robert Smithson . One of the most long-lived of these movements was the
abstract development known as minimalism , which emphasized the least discernible
variation of technique in painting, sculpture, and other media.
Taken together, these many approaches to art represented a wholesale rejection
of the tenets of modernism—e.g., its optical formalism, high seriousness,
utopianism, social detachment, invocation of the subconscious, and elitism—and
marked the beginning of a new era in art. In their many manifestations, these
movements and those styles that followed have come to be grouped under the
umbrella term of postmodernism . For the most part, this art is one of pluralism
and eclecticism. In fact, the very lack of a uniform organizing principle
or ideology is one of the most important hallmarks of postmodern art. Nonetheless,
within the enormous diversity certain tendencies, trends, and movements can
One of the products of the almost universal dismissal of modernism by contemporary
artists has been the development of a new historicism, ironic and detached,
which has spawned a number of artistic "neoisms." These include
the neoexpressionism of such German artists as Georg Baselitz and Anselm
Kiefer, of Italians including Francisco Clemente and Sandro Chia, and of
the American Julian Schnabel . Among other contemporary "neo" styles
are the cool "neo-geo" abstractions of Peter Halley and others,
the stark structures of neoconceptualism, the slick neopop of such artists
as Jeff Koons, and the landscape revival represented by Diane Burko and April
Gornik, among others.
Many new artists have simultaneously invoked and challenged art history,
rejecting the heroic stature of the singular work of art and the single (usually
white male) artist and invoking the ubiquity of mechanically produced reproductions
by employing sophisticated "quotations" or "appropriations" from
prior works. This can be found, for example, in Cindy Sherman's photographic
recreations of paintings, in the multiple quotations of historic images of
David Salle 's paintings, in the postmodern takes on Barnett Newman by Philip
Taaffe and on Manet by Yasumasa Morimura, and in the nearly identical representations
of famous images such as Picasso 's icon of modernism Les Demoiselles d'Avignon
by Mike Bidlo.
Also widespread among contemporary artists has been a repudiation of the
idea that underlies most works of pure abstraction—that the work of
art is a self-sufficient entity. Rejecting the exclusively self-referential
images of abstraction and the constricted commercialism of the art world
(yet often embracing the wider commercialism of a consumer society), the
new art has sometimes manifested a marked if somewhat detached social consciousness,
often expressed in issue-driven minority, gay (frequently AIDS -related),
and feminist imagery. By and large, the inroads achieved by feminism in the
1970s have been reflected in later decades not so much by the insistently
female, body-derived 1970s imagery of Judy Chicago or Miriam Schapiro as
by the full participation in the once mainly male-dominated art world of
such varied artists as Jenny Holzer, Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, Jennifer
Bartlett, Elizabeth Murray, Judy Pfaff, Sherrie Levine, Barbara Bloom, Katharina
Fritsch, and others.
Arising from the multimedia experiments of the 1970s, the widespread use
of a variety of technology-based media has persisted into the art of the
new century. Often included are elements of film, video, sound, performance
(see performance art ), and architecture (principally in installation art).
Another trend that has widened the definition and scope of contemporary art
has been the conceptually driven use of both photography and language as
the substance of numerous works of art—in Kiefer's photographic collages,
in Kruger's words and photographic images, in Bruce Nauman's neon phrases,
in Lawrence Weiner's painted words, in Holzer's billboarded, carved, electronically
reproduced, or otherwise created linguistic neotruisms, and in many other
artists' works. Another contemporary art movement, digital art , was pioneered
in the 1970s but did not become prevalent until the beginning of the 21st
cent. Digital artists make use of sophisticated computers, software, and
video equipment to create an extremely varied body of works.
Postmodern art has also blurred the distinctions between painting and sculpture
(and sometimes architecture), with artists often including in their works
a host of wildly nontraditional materials. Since the 1960s shaped paintings
and painted sculpture have become commonplace, while the materials of art
have ranged from Rauschenberg's stuffed goat to Joseph Beuys ' globs of fat
to the smeared body fluids of various contemporary artists. Moreover, a wide
variety of spaces and places, both private and public, have become arenas
for the frequently ephemeral work of many contemporary artists.
Later 20th-cent. and early 21st-cent. sculpture has assumed a central position
in contemporary art and has followed the patterns of the various postmodern
art movements, for example, the three-dimensional pop icons of Claes Oldenburg
, Koons's purposely banal, often erotic figures, and the minimalist constructions
of such artists as Carl Andre , Donald Judd , and Robert Morris . Other important
trends in contemporary sculpture include an increasing use of mixed media
and the creation of works that draw their meaning and impact from their architectural
context and also emphasize the role of the spectator. This is as significant
in the room-centered examples of installation art as it is in such large
public works as Maya Lin 's Vietnam Veterans Memorial .
Bibliography: See Papadakis, Farrow, and Hodges, ed., New Art: An International
Survey (1991); E. Lucie-Smith, Art Today (1995); J. Cerrito, ed., Contemporary
Artists (4th ed. 1996).