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New, Generative Art Exhibition opens at the Museum

By System Administrator
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Friday 16 December, 2022

A collection of computer-based paintings which blur the boundaries between digital and physical realms form the basis of a new exhibition by Kevin Todd opening on Thursday, 15 December 2022 at the Islamic Museum of Australia.

Aptly titled Generations as a nod to the genre of generative art, the exhibition unfolds across several chronological and thematic sections, offering a dynamic survey of Todd’s practice stretching from Iran to Morocco, as well as brand new works recently created in Australia.

Islamic Museum of Australia Curator Dr Mahmoud Mohammed said Generations effortlessly unites diverse influences into a single, coherent exhibition.

“With Todd’s background as a non-Muslim inspired by Islamic art, the visual influence of centuries-old Islamic architecture from around the world, and an homage to the repeated pattern structures in Aboriginal art, the exhibition certainly aligns with our mission to offer cross-cultural experiences,” said Dr Mohammed.

Exhibition highlights include works produced during a residency at Green Olive Arts in Tetouan, Morocco in 2018 and subsequent studio work in Australia. The designs on the hand-painted MDF panels pay homage to the traditional architecture which beautify the world heritage-listed medina in Tetuoan. Islamic art in this region can be linked to the broader culture of Muslim Spain, particularly al-Andalus on the Iberian Peninsula, a history which is highlighted in the Museum’s Islamic Architecture Gallery.

The making of generative art is supported by an underlying structure or program. This could be a computer-based algorithm, artificial intelligence, robot, or data processor. When working with the computer, Todd develops a criterion of carefully considered constraints based on patterns found in the real world, like the Tetuoan medina. The structure of the building becomes the structure for the pattern.

Elaborating on his process, Todd said he makes a geometric structure, and then that structure becomes the basis for the work. Beyond that, there’s a subjective component where he selects and applies colour.

“Because there are no [figurative] images, there’s no explicit content; you’re not looking for a story like you would in a conventional Western painting”, Todd explained during the exhibition installation.

“I like to think of these works more like instrumental music, such as jazz or blues, where there aren’t any lyrics. Instead, the music moves you in a certain way and creates a specific type of experience for the viewer.”

Born in Cork, Ireland, Todd first came to Australia in 1981, where he studied at Sydney College of the Arts and the Tasmanian School of Art. His background as an engineer and draftsman is woven throughout his extensive record of exhibitions and commissioned work, both public and private, in Australia and internationally. Todd was also a founding faculty member of the design program at the University of Sunshine Coast. He currently resides on Nipaluna land in Hobart, Tasmania.

Generations is on from 15 December 2022 – 18 March 2023 at the Islamic Museum of Australia. For more information and to plan your visit, go to islamicmuseum.org.au/visit.

The Islamic Museum of Australia is in Thornbury, in Melbourne’s north. It is the only Islamic museum in the country and provides educational and cross-cultural experiences for all ages. The Museum is open 10am – 4pm, Monday to Saturday.

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