Oil painting ‘Le Blaireau’

Artwork by Claude Zervas

In his recent oil paintings, Claude Zervas toys with the balance between compositional constraint and awkward subconscious expression as he experiments with automated tools like CNC machines to make images reminiscent of a Rorschach blot.

“Insofar as optical and mechanical painting aids used over the last few centuries are important to the perception of paintings, the use of a computer-controlled brush prosthesis is relatively uninteresting,” Zervas says. “I’m always surprised when phrases like ‘painted by a machine’ are used. Are paintings normally painted by the tools an artist uses? A pencil can’t draw and an inkjet printer can’t create a photograph. No tool will overcome a lack of talent, and any failure or success belongs to the artist alone. If anything, automated tools often become a liability since they introduce seductive formal constraints that are difficult to overcome.”

Starlings is on view at Greg Kucera Gallery Sept. 11–Oct. 23.