Pace Verso

DRIFT with Jeff Davis


Artwork Details

DRIFT with Jeff Davis
Released: Monday, November 13, 2023, 12PM EST

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Above: Still from Schema, Mint #1 of 300 unique, generative artworks © DRIFT and Jeff Davis, courtesy Pace Verso and Art Blocks

A New Collaborative Project by DRIFT and Jeff Davis

Pace Verso, the hub for integrated Web3 projects at Pace Gallery, and Art Blocks, the leading platform for generative art, are pleased to announce details of Schema, a new collaborative project by DRIFT artists Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta and artist Jeff Davis. Taking DRIFT’s kinetic sculpture Meadow as a point of departure, this generative art project is produced as part of an ongoing, multifaceted partnership between Pace Verso and Art Blocks. It will be available for purchase through a Dutch auction hosted on beginning at 12 p.m. EST on November 13.

With Schema, Gordijn and Nauta—who first approached Davis about the project in 2022—set out to create a truly collaborative series of generative works that brings together two distinct artistic visions. Comprising 300 animated digital artworks, the project was inspired by two-dimensional schematic designs for DRIFT’s widely exhibited, three- dimensional installation Meadow, an upside-down landscape in which illuminated mechanical flowers open and close as part of a poetic choreography. Hung from a ceiling, this mesmeric work examines the impermanence of the changing seasons and the phenomenology of nature. Iterations of Meadow—which was originally produced as a site- specific installation commissioned by the Chodov Centre in Prague— have been presented at art institutions around the world, including the LG Arts Centre in Seoul and the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields.

Davis, known for his explorations of color and form through algorithmic systems, has brought his unique approach to color theory to Schema. Each artwork in the project uses DRIFT’s schematic diagrams for Meadow, which feature only subtle color touches, as vehicles for exploring color relationships from a generative standpoint. While DRIFT led on the development of the animated qualities in the project, Davis—who has previously exhibited his work with Bright Moments Gallery at its locations around the world, in Sotheby’s curated Natively Digital presentation, and in Phillips’s exhibition Ex-Machina: A History of Generative Art in London—directed its visual and compositional nuances.

Launching on November 13, Schema artworks will be available for purchase via a Dutch auction with settlement— meaning the lowest bid is the price all buyers will pay—hosted by Art Blocks. DRIFT and Davis will direct 20 percent of artists’ proceeds from the primary sale to YAKUM, a nonprofit organization that protects indigenous forests and builds cultural, medicinal, and food sovereignty through reforestation.

About the Project

With Schema, DRIFT and Davis celebrate the preliminary work that goes into realizing any large-scale art installation—in this case, diagram-making. Together, Gordijn, Nauta, and Davis developed a custom algorithm that brings the physical sculpture’s details and idiosyncrasies to life, recasting its diagrammatic origins in four possible styles: Diagram, the style that most closely resembles DRIFT’s preliminary diagrams for Meadow; Color Study, which strips out the structural elements of the diagrams and express the flowers as abstract rings of color; Sketch, which renders the flowers as line drawings with chalk-like accents; and Blueprint, which resembles the style of a blueprint.

In addition to these four different drawing styles, the project’s algorithmic system chooses two parent colors for each artwork, which may result in a wide spectrum of colors appearing across the composition from left to right or, alternatively, a more monochromatic scheme. The flowers themselves also have their own color systems that determine the relationship between their physical color and the color of their internal lights, creating gradient effects as the cast light blends with the local color.

Variable traits in any given Schema artwork also include: the total number and location of the flowers; day and night modes that impact ambient light effects; each flower’s apparent position relative to the viewer; and the frequency and speed at which each flower opens and closes.

Each flower in these artworks also runs on its own cycle, deliberately avoiding synchronization and giving the whole scene a sense of organic motion. Once the viewer clicks on a static Schema composition to activate its motion, the animations in the artwork evolve endlessly.

DRIFT at Minneapolis Museum of Art

Courtesy of the Indianapolis Museum of Arts at Newfields


DRIFT and Jeff Davis's Schema, Explained

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About the Artists

Dutch artists Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta founded DRIFT in 2007. With a multi-disciplinary team of 64, they work on experiential sculptures, installations and performances.

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Jeff Davis

An art professor for twenty years, Jeff Davis is a generative artist and now Strategic Advisor at Art Blocks. Always fascinated with mathematics and introduced to studio art in college, he was captivated with the overlap between these two disciplines, focusing on painting and printmaking throughout his graduate studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Seeking greater precision in his artwork, in 1999, he began to use design software to explore structures and colors to create digital art. Since then, he's been inspired by the use of technology for creative expression, building generative systems that explore form and color within specified parameters.

  • Pace Verso — DRIFT with Jeff Davis: Schema, Oct 19, 2023