In the 19th century, the invention of the halftone screen allowed printers to easily reproduce photographs by translating shades of gray into a pattern of black dots that varied in size according to the depth of tone. A close look at photographs in the newspaper shows the same process at work today. In “Tide Pool,” Robert Covington digitally applies a particularly rough version of that antiquated analog mode of reproduction to a moving image, even endowing each dot with the slight illusion of three dimensions. Although the artist’s subject—taken at the famed photographic location of Point Lobos—would be difficult to grasp in a single frame, when viewed in motion with a subtle hint of sound, the graphic abstraction easily translates into an image of reality, thanks to the mind’s irrepressible urge to find order in chaos.

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Robert Covington, American, born 1950
Tide Pool
Single-channel video
3 minutes, 15 seconds
Credit Line

Museum purchase funded by W. Burt Nelson in honor of Kara Fiedorek

Current Location
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Accession Number
Film & Video

The artist, East Hampton, New York; purchased by MFAH, 2016.