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2006

Kline

Brushstrokes 49
17” x 38”

A celebration of the brushstroke. The simplicity, directness, intellectual power, and emotional force of Franz Kline’s Abstract Expressionism combines with subsumption architecture and real-time AI to produce Paul Kirby and Dulcinea’s striking homage to one of America’s greatest abstract expressionist painters. Distinct new designs and directions sprung forth with each click of Dulcinea’s “run” button. Dulcinea even learned an entirely new brushstroke to capture the force and clarity that Kline imparted to his work.

Explore Paul's Process
Explore paul’s process

Artistic Background

This painting is in the style of Franz Kline, an influential American painter in the movement of Abstract Expressionism, and an important member of the New York School – a post-WWII group of like-minded, avant-garde artists. Through homage, Paul wanted to explore the essential qualities of Kline’s work: simplicity, directness, and intellectual and emotional force.

Structure and Form

Rudolf Arnheim’s book, The Power of the Center – a text that has been utilized in the creation of many of Paul and Dulcinea’s works – was once again referenced to ensure a visually engaging interplay of centric and eccentric energy in the painting. Arnheim, an art theorist and psychologist, wrote extensively on the psychological power and energy that hub, centric, and eccentric, geometric structures can have in art.

Dulcinea’s New Brushwork

Franz Kline’s strokes were clean, strong, thick, and forceful. On top of this, each stroke was loaded with paint. Paul adapted Dulcinea’s programming to replicate a Franz Kline brushstroke’s distinctive look. A new brushstroke was added to Dulcinea’s repertoire, affectionately called the “Kline” stroke. In addition to the paint being applied thicker on the canvas, by using the other side of the brush and repeating the brushstroke in the opposite direction, a greater volume of paint was overlaid, thus creating a stronger, more distinctive brushstroke.

AI Software

The software for this particular piece was constructed in the manner of Rodney Brooks’ subsumption architecture, a bottom-up structure useful for behavior-based robotics and real-time artificial intelligence. Subsumption architecture employs a hierarchical layering scheme for orchestrating behaviors of AI agents – agents like the now familiar “Paul’s ants.”

A Fusion of Many Elements

The merging of Brooks’ AI architecture with Arnheim’s hub structures produced the perfect model to capture Kline-esque energy and designs with every click of the “run” button. Add the robotic recreation of Kline’s bold and arresting brushstrokes, and what you have on your hands is a winning combination. Welcome to Kline.