The rise of digital art in Australia has seen an explosion in the number of exhibitions taking place.
With the rise of online art communities like Reddit and the Instagram platform, art fans are increasingly able to discover and connect with the artists they love.
But what does art actually look like when it’s digital?
And how does this affect art history?
This exhibition from Koons Art Gallery explores how digital art has changed the way Australians perceive art and what they can learn from it.
For the exhibition, curator Rebecca Kooley-Baker explores the connections between art, history and culture through two contrasting periods.
In the 1950s, the art market was dominated by the Australian art scene, where artists such as the late Edward Hopper were celebrated for their works.
The late 1960s saw the rise and spread of the computer as a way of producing digital art.
As a result, the internet is now the world’s largest marketplace for digital art, with more than 70,000 sites offering a wide variety of digital works.
But while digital art was always associated with the likes of Edward Hoppers, it is now also an integral part of Australian culture.
In contrast, the late 1970s were a time of mass consumerism, with new consumer products such as computers, televisions, smartphones and the internet taking over.
While digital art and pop culture have been integral to Australian culture for many decades, digital art is not just an American phenomenon.
While it was first exhibited in Australia in the early 1980s, digital artists have been slowly moving towards the American art scene for decades.
In the 1970s, art historian, art critic and contemporary artist, Tony James, described digital art as a phenomenon that is ‘an important part of contemporary Australian culture, and also one of its most distinctive features’.’
Digital art is the future of Australian art,’ James said.
‘It’s not just a way to create a product; it’s a way for people to connect with and create their own history, and it’s also a way that allows for the expression of personal meaning.’
Art is a human process, and digital art uses the digital medium to communicate an emotion, a message.
It allows for a more intimate engagement with what it means to be human, and to think deeply about our place in the world.’
It is this engagement with human meaning and meaning through art that has changed in Australia, said Kooly Baker, curator of contemporary art and digital arts at Koons.
“The relationship between art and culture has been shaped by technology,” she said.
“But the digital revolution has changed that, because the relationship between the two is much more intimate.
The relationship between culture and technology has been much more fluid and dynamic than it was, so I think it has really changed the relationship.”‘
Digital culture is a very powerful cultural force in Australia’Kooly said digital art can be seen as a ‘force multiplier’ for contemporary Australian art.
“It can be very powerful in creating new forms of communication, and in terms of bringing people together,” she explained.
“Digital art can also be used as a means of social engagement because people have access to more information and information that they don’t have access through traditional means.”
We’ve seen this with digital art: in the past decade, we’ve seen a rise in the popularity of digital painting, and the art world has embraced digital art because it allows for more access to information.
“I think digital art offers a very potent way to connect people and express their emotions in a way not possible through traditional forms of art.”
Kooley Baker says digital art also offers a way “for people to engage with their history and their communities”The exhibition also explores how Australians view the past, both in Australia and abroad.
Kooleys research reveals that Australians have a tendency to view Australian history through the lens of a particular generation, with many people viewing the nation through the prism of the past.
This makes it easy for people like artist Rebecca Koon to look at Australian history as a whole, with her research exploring the relationships between Australia’s art history and the country’s past.
In her book, ‘What Is Australia’s Past?’, Koon looks at how artists have tried to portray Australia’s past through the medium of digital paintings.
“Australia’s art has become increasingly digital and the way that artists are using this technology is really powerful,” Kooleys curator of modern art and contemporary art, Kristina Wills, said.
“Koon does a fantastic job of putting the past into digital form and showing the relationship of art and technology.”
She does a wonderful job of using a digital medium that is incredibly expressive and it allows artists to create their work in a new way.
“Koon’s research has shown that Australia’s modern art has been affected by digital art since the early 1990s, when artists started creating works digitally.”
As we have become more