The continuation of painting by other means

On View

April 10– May 14, 2024

Opening ceremony on April 13, 2024 from 4:30 – 6:30 PM PST

Press Release

March 27, 2024 (Palo Alto, CA) - Qualia Contemporary Art is pleased to present The Continuation of Painting by Other Means, the gallery’s first solo exhibition of work by San Francisco-based artist, Clive McCarthy. A selection of seven works, presented on screens, will highlight McCarthy’s generative, moving image pieces, created from custom software specifically developed by the artist himself. The curation of McCarthy’s works emphasizes the artist’s interest in the human figure in motion, as revealed by an endless accumulation of computer-coded brushstrokes. Progressively revealing the phases of his subject’s movement, McCarthy’s code layers “paint” in an infinite and random sequence. The exhibition will be open to the public from April 10 – May 14, 2024, with an opening celebration hosted on Saturday, April 13th, from 4:30 - 6:30 PM PST.


A nod to a famed quote by Carl von Clausewitz, “[war] is the continuation of [policy] by other means,” the exhibition’s title extends this principle to the art world, and represents McCarthy’s own rebuttal to the timeless cycle of ominous declarations by the critical elite that “painting is dead.” On the contrary, McCarthy views painting as a vital, dynamic medium for art making in the age of technology, and poses his oeuvre as supporting evidence for its relevance and capacity to adapt to contemporary social and cultural concerns. Describing his artistic process, McCarthy explains:


“The works use small, custom-built computer systems to produce the images rendered on flat screens. The 'paint' is entirely synthetic. Each work has photographic base image(s) which are 'painted' in a random sequence that continues indefinitely. Each painting of a base image is itself full of subtle variations so no two paintings of an image are ever identical. After having studied  Matisse's work, my impasto changed significantly.


I wrote both the program that prepares the images for painting, and the program modules that paint them, affording me a level of control not possible with commercial software tools. The works are self-contained and can be turned on and off simply by pressing a button.. Because my work is written in C, if I have an idea then it is just me and the machine — I have no excuses or limits — and in that sense, I grind my own pigments.”

– Clive McCarthy


Situated in the heart of Silicon Valley, A Continuation of Painting by Other Means is Qualia’s first-ever exhibition of screen-based, generative artworks. Gallery Co-Founder and Director Dacia Xu’s own background in Materials Science and Engineering closely mirrors McCarthy’s path from the semiconductor industry to the art world. McCarthy, an established artist in the Bay Area art and technology scene, will usher in a new curatorial focus on generative and technologically-engaged practices in the gallery’s program.


For more information, please visit

About Clive McCarthy

Clive McCarthy received his B.Sc. in Electronics from University of Salford, England, and his MFA in New Genres from San Francisco Art Institute. Coding is McCarthy's brush and his “paint” is entirely synthetic. A painting based on a photograph is happening in slow motion and is  realized as the program works in a random sequence indefinitely. McCarthy lives and works in San Francisco.


McCarthy has participated in numerous exhibitions in California and Canada; such as San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA; University of Art + Design, Vancouver, Canada; Martha Street Studio, Winnipeg, Canada; Tercera Gallery, Palo Alto, CA. McCarthy has participated in several art fairs including CURRENTS New Media Festival, Santa Fe, NM; Art Silicon Valley/San Francisco, San Mateo Event Center, CA; StARTup Art Fair, Hotel Del Sol, San Francisco, CA; Silicon Valley Contemporary International Fine Art Fair, San Jose, CA.

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