Larry Cuba is working in the tradition of so-called abstract or concrete animation. This comprises the examination of cinema (film and video) as an exceptionally visual experience - a form of art which is closer to painting and music than to drama and photography.
Larry Cuba is one of the most important artists currently working in the tradition known variously as abstract, absolute or concrete animation. This is the approach to cinema (film and video) as a purley visual experience, an artform related more to painting and music than to drama or photography. Viking Eggeling, Hans Richter, Oskar Fischinger, Len Lye, Norman McLaren and the Whitney brothers are among the diverse group of painters, sculptors, architects, filmmakers and video and computer artists who have made distinguished contributions to this field over the last 73 years.
Insofar as it is understood as the visual equivalent of musical composition, abstract animation necessarily has an underlying mathematical structure; and since the computer is the supreme instrument of mathematical description, it's not surprising that computer artists have inherited the responsibility of advancing this tradition into new territory. Ironically, very few artists in the world today employ the digital computer exclusively to explore the possibilities of abstract animation as music's visual counterpart. John Whitney, Sr. is the most famous, and rightly so: he was the first to carry the tradition into the digital domain, and his book DIGITAL HARMONY is among the most rigorous (if also controversial) theoretical treatments of the subject. But for me Cuba's work is by far the more aesthetically satisfying. Indeed, if there is a Bach of abstract animation, it is Larry Cuba. Words like elegant, graceful, exhilarating or spectacular do not begin to articulate the evocative power of these sublime works characterized by cascading designs, startling shifts of perspective and the ineffable beauty of precise, mathematical structure.
They are as close to music - particularly the mathematically transcendent music of Bach - as the moving-image arts will ever get.