P-052-c (Quark Lines), 1970
Plotter drawing ink on paper
22 x 22 in / 56 x 56 cm
Mohr’s work is an important bridge between handmade manipulations and machine-calculated structures in art. His demonstrated interest in process, language and line texture are revealed in in early abstract painted works, prior to his discovery of the computer as a tool for art. This particular drawing is part of Mohr’s early algorithmic work phase (1969-72, following an interest in hard edge painting) which emphasized a “formalism” of the software medium: logical and automatic construction of pictures. In this work phase, the left-to-right linear composition is also influenced by Mohr’s observation of the way a computer-controlled drawing machine (the Benson plotter) drags ink across the paper, as if it were written in a script.
Typical of his early algorithmic work, this piece links line to language, process and conceptual systems. Mohr calculated the image using a program that he authored in the FORTRAN language. With a choice of different line characteristics, an alphabet of randomly generated elements is created.
The concept for this drawing is that a set of random points above a horizontal line are first connected. Then, in defined steps, the points are linearly transformed into their positions on a horizontal line. This process is repeated in the reverse manner, forming each of the eight bands.