Jared Tarbell's Intersection Aggregate owes an intentional debt to Jackson Pollock not only in its palette but in its application and process. Pollock was not a "chance operations" artist, but was very deliberate in his execution. His process was an admixture of chaos and craft, and part of that craft lay in how much chaos to allow into the work, when to allow it in, and how to allow it in. Similarly, Tarbell's piece is generative, but not without his own particular, intentional visual aesthetic -- not just in the final output, but in the real-time "playing out" of the piece. Whereas Pollock's "hand" in real-time painting led to the production of a static final painting, Tarbell removes this process one step further. Tarbell's "hand" in real-time coding leads to the software's "hand" in real-time "painting," which in turn leads to the output of the static piece. In Pollock's case, the final piece shows evidence of Pollock's energetic "performance," that is, his painting of the piece. In Tarbell's case, the performance (the software's "drawing" of the art) is the actual piece. This generative "playing out" in turn shows evindence of Tarbell's coding "performance" which occurs off stage, but which is nevertheless observable by viewing the intentionally open source code.
The work is not merely "FlashFormalism." It is "speaking" about art history; about new media's relation to art history; about the nature of time-shiftedness and instruction giving; about the balance between chaos and control; about the continuum of performance, meta-performance (literally "script writing"), and object; about the relationship between process and visual aesthetics; about the relationship between code, hand, line, and dance; about the ability of software-based media to evince an idiosyncratic personal style. Plus it looks pretty. And the beauty of it (literally) is, you don't have to comprehend the above insights to get something out of the piece.
- Curt Cloninger (October 2004)