"Motionpaintings" are artworks that incorporate duration yet remain rooted in stillness.


Michel Moyse is an artist, teacher and co-founder/director of the Center for Digital Art, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational resources and promoting filmmaking and videoart in Brattleboro, Vermont.  Michel's artistic career spans nearly 5 decades and includes works on paper, glass, plastic, film and single and multi-channel projections he calls 'motionpaintngs'. 

To see the works "in motion", please click on the work's titled TEXT or still-frame image or go to Portraits, Motionpaintings, or any of the sub-categories.


'Motionpainting' is a word I use to describe much of the computer based work I've been doing over the last two decades:  by it I simply mean artwork that incorporates duration yet remains rooted in 'stillness'.   Because current technological limitations impose the necessity of viewing these works either as projections in a relatively darkened room or images on a small LCD screen (this is likely to change in the near future), it's easy to orient viewing expectations associated with film or animation.  In spite of the fact that these works are time based, they are not narratives in content or form.  As in traditional painting, they have no beginning or end and are meant for continuous viewing.  The new province of this art may in fact be duration without development.  Or, put another way, aspects of 'now' in duration.   

Most of these works were made for large screen projection (at least 16 ft. across for the single channel and 24 ft. for the multi-channel - LCD or LED screens are currently too small and the black border is intrusive and disrupts the experience).  When the eye roams - as it must in large scale-work - this entails a psychic recognition that there's always something else that wants to intrude into the experience - something outside the dimension of sight; a shifting landscape that can't be fixed or held for long. 

Unless otherwise noted, audio should be played at low level.

TOBY FRANK Motionpainting


That a work of art occupies multiple spaces is of course not new, and history abounds with examples:  The Medieval diptych and triptych; Egyptian hieroglyphs; and more recently, Cubism, to name just a few.  But that the process itself becomes objectified and codified into new modes of artistic expression is, I think, a recent development.  The causes for this can be traced at least partially to our perception of reality enhanced through a variety of sensory manipulations - television, radio, video, computer, etc. This obviously creates an environment which is multi-layered; an environment which redefines in fundamental ways what we mean by 'reality' and which - and this is the important point - consequently calls for a reinterpretation of what is specifically relevant to us and therefore worthy of exploration and expression. This then forcibly entails concomitant shifts in modes of perception - that is to say, in consciousness.  And that this coincides with the dissolution of the (largely Western) Cartesian dichotomy of object/subject - of conscious and subconscious; of self and other - need not surprise us.  Boundaries are in constant flux; reinterpreted and redefined; both on the personal level as well as the sociopolitical level.  Process takes precedence over product; form over content.  What this points to is, in fact, a new understanding of artistic expression.  The two concepts of 'integrity' and 'unity', for example, so critical in defining art of the past - in defining a spatially and temporally homogeneous sensibility (balance, harmony, etc.) - are now modified to include disparate and random sensibilities; to include, for example, the 'incongruous' as well as the 'congruous', the 'disharmonious' as well as the 'harmonious', the 'irrelevant' as well as the 'relevant', the 'incoherent' as well as the 'coherent'.  And this, I believe, is the specific purview of the 'contemporary' artist.

For a very personal look at what art means to me, please click on Five Essays on Art & Painting.