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Music of the Spheres

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Music of the Spheres, oil on canvas

Stretched canvas, painted sides, signed.

Giclee Available

music of the spheres


Created in layers.  Dripped and brushed paint thinned with media was used to create loose washes of color, then washing with turpentine thinned paint removed some of the paint from the first layer, but added additional tints and concentrated the pigment around the edges of dripped rivulets.  Glazing was used to subtly enrich the color in some areas.  Finally the geometric patterns were painted in, using motifs that make subtle reference to both the background textures and to cross sections of a typical particle ring accelerator.

There are subtle active aspects to the construction of “Music of the Spheres” that impart a changeable nature to the image.  In many areas, the geometric patterns begin as contrasting patterns of line, then shade into hues matching the background.  In the original (but not in the photo) these patterns were painted using different media to thin the paint, making it more matte than the painting’s background.  When viewed at an angle, these subtle patterns become more pronounced.  Different pigment combinations were used to approximate the same range of colors in the background washes and foreground lines.  This approach to color matching creates subtle metameric effects, where the contrast changes depending on the light hitting the painting.

The content of the piece is a visual comment on some of the experiments happening right now at CERN, the search for the Higgs, and the possible “End of Physics as we know it”. The phrase “Music of the Spheres” describes early cosmological ideas where the stars in the sky were believed to be point embedded in transparent spheres revolving around the earth. Over the years observers and theorists kept adding to the complex movements and layers of these “spheres”, creating a cacophony of adjustments to make the theory fit observed reality. The heliocentric Copernican view replaced the Music of the Spheres with a different view of the Solar System, then the Galaxy and universe, allowing modern Cosmology to emerge. In the present we can see a growing noise of particles – a veritable sub-atomic zoo – describing the basic building blocks of the Universe. Will we see a new unifying Theory, a new Music in the Spheres?

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