About the interactive painting

For viewing this work, you should have a video display with more than 256 colors and a web browser that supports BGCOLORs in table cells (HTML 3 or later). If you see tiny dark glitches in the image, try reloading or refreshing the page.

In 1975, I made a painting (acrylic on canvas, 52" x 52", collection of the artist) that looks much like this image.

This is not a photograph of the original, but a reconstruction using RGB (red-green-blue) colors. The corner colors were matched to the original painting, and the intermediate colors were calculated using a linear interpolation formula. The result looks very much like the physical painting. Because the RGB color system was designed to be visually linear, a progression of values such as (0, 51, 102, 153, 204, 255) turns out to be equally spaced both arithmetically and visually. This linearity makes it easy to calculate precise transparency effects such as the ones found in the work of Josef Albers. I wish I'd had Photoshop when I was studying color theory in art school!

Visually, the image produces effects depending on "simultaneous contrast" among sequences of colors. Within each square, for example, the color seems to modulate from top to bottom (lighter and yellower at top to darker and bluer at bottom) and from side to side (redder at left to greener at right). The rows and columns look like they could consist of transparent overlays. The rows and columns also have a slightly concave, "fluted" look. These effects get stronger the longer you look--they seem to depend on visual habituation or after-images.

I decided that it would be fun to make this painting interactive, so that you could play with the colors and layout. The interactive version, originally implemented as a Perl program (and later as a JavaScript application), lets you do the following:

You can send me comments by using the site Contact form.

Revised 12/11/98. Copyright 1998 Kalle Nemvalts.

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