Theses Master's

Double-Rendering: Computer Graphics and Airbrush in the Work of Austin Lee and Avery Singer

Kim, Ho Won

This thesis explores the aesthetic potential of computer graphics and the airbrush in contemporary art. While these techniques have been widely used in producing diverse forms of artwork, they have yet to receive substantial scholarly attention. Thus, this study aims to fill this gap by examining the “double-rendering” practice of two contemporary artists, Austin Lee and Avery Singer. The research focuses on Lee and Singer’s intricate processes of computer graphics rendering and the subsequent manual reproduction of these images, primarily utilizing the airbrush. The main objective of this investigation is to illuminate how these techniques contribute to the expansion of conventional image-making practices.

By drawing on a media archaeology approach, this thesis reviews Lee and Singer’s practice within the broader framework of optical media, realism, and the application of mechanical instruments in fine art. First, it revisits critical issues that emerged during the nascent stages of computer graphics development, as well as examples of fine art pieces crafted with the airbrush. This delineates the unique attributes of these tools in their fundamental functions of digitized simulation and mechanical mediation, enabling an examination of Lee and Singer’s practice, not solely in terms of artwork creation, but also in the context of exhibition display.

This study culminates in a reassessment of the indispensability of computer graphics and the airbrush, crucial instruments for understanding vision and art production within the contemporary technological landscape. Despite appearing to be unrelated, these two techniques together are indicative of today’s transformation in human visual perception and subjectivity. Instead of relegating them to the periphery as subsidiary skills, the research situates these techniques at the core of art history.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Art History and Archaeology
Thesis Advisors
Elcott, Noam M.
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
May 10, 2023


Degree Program: Modern and Contemporary Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies (MODA)