The 2012 ACM SIGGRAPH Lifetime Achievement Award in Digital Art is awarded to Jean-Pierre Hébert for his pioneering achievements in creating art through computer programming. At the core of his work are algorithms that generate drawings on paper as well as sand and other mixed media. Jean-Pierre began working with digital conceptual algorithmic art in 1974 and has been an independent artist since 1984.
From 1989 on, his work has appeared in 17 SIGGRAPH Art Galleries to date. In 1995, he co-founded “The Algorists” with Roman Verostko, joined by Hans Dehlinger, Helaman Ferguson, Manfred Mohr, Ken Musgrave, and Mark Wilson. Jean-Pierre Hébert was appointed Artist in Residence at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UC Santa Barbara in June 2003.He has been awarded grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 2006 and the David Bermant Foundation in 2009.
His aesthetic is based on a patient, evolving exploration of the line. He looks at drawing not as gestural, but more essentially as a direct expression of thought that might be inspired by or suggestive of motion, time, music, light, logic, nature. Technically, his work rests on simple coding informed by geometry, mathematics, physics and great attention to rendering details. He also explores chaos and order, silence and sounds, music, text, poetry, and the ephemeral. Some of the ideas and concepts Jean-Pierre incorporates into his work stem from Zen Buddhism and his spiritual approach to life.
The first public exhibition of his digital drawings was in France in 1989 at the Galerie Alphonse Chave in Vence. Other landmark exhibitions he has participated in include “Alien Intelligence” at the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland in 2000, “Drawing with the Mind” at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, “Imaging by Numbers” at the Block Museum of Art, Chicago in 2008, “Digital Pioneers” at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London in 2010, and “Drawing with Code” at the deCordova Museum in 2011.
Additional selected venues have included the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics, Brooklyn Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Tweed Museum, Getty Research Institute, New York Drawing Center, DAM (Berlin, Cologne). Hébert has resided in Santa Barbara, California since 1985. In addition to international exhibitions, he shows in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles venues and galleries.
Jean-Pierre Hébert is active as a public speaker and advocate for digital art and algorithmic methods of creating art. He has participated in SIGGRAPH panels in 1995, 1998, and 2005, the UCSB Art Symposiums in 1999 and 2007, Pratt Institute, UCLA, University of Chicago, Rhode Island School of Design, Pasadena Art Center College of Design, Southern California Institute of Architecture and many other conferences and artist talks.
ACM SIGGRAPH is honored to recognize Jean-Pierre Hébert. He is one of the pioneers who have led the way towards new forms of creative expression using digital techniques and algorithms. His consistent record of art production, exhibiting his work and public speaking as an advocate of digital art make him an exceptional individual in the field.
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