So, here are the details on some of my newer Fluid Dynamics pieces – as promised. And … after the (dreadful) Berkshire’s Arts Festival, as promised. By the way, if you are a painter, sculptor, or other Fine Artist, feel free to drop me a note and ask about any of the festivals, fairs and other shows I’ve tried.
If you’ve been following my newsletter and or my blog, there’s a series of pieces I’ve been working on that are loosely built around freezing a variety of fluid phenomena into clear acrylic paint films. This series of works is called “Fluid Dynamics“, because I’m often not at all circumspect with my titling. Most of the series imposes a very simple geometry on each piece, which is then broken by various fluid behaviors (for example, the thumbnails below).
Fluid Dynamics Series
Perhaps the best thing to happen to me art-wise started on Pi-day at an MIT alumnus event. There is a new initiative trying to somehow collate alumni interested in the arts, MITAax. Their kickoff event involved food and drink, (and I was waiting for Plamen to arrive later). So of course I chose a table strategically situated near the bar, food table and door. And of course just about every single Visual Artist MIT alumnus in the room applied the same strategy. So now I have MIT peeps – artist MIT peeps. Woo hoo! And we’ve been corresponding and visiting.
After Pi Day, towards the end of May, I made a visit to one of those MIT artist peeps, Blake Brasher. Blake works out of Cambridge, MA and he does complex fluid abstracts. (You’ll like them – have a look)We had a nice chat about capillarity and wetting in various acrylic compatible inks, paint and media. Having discussed what should happen in theory, I decided it best to put “my money where my mouth is” and do some experiments.
Of course, I cleverly (sarcasm) decided to loosen the geometry for the experiments, which resulted in two very good paintings, Firmament, and Birthday Song, shown in the gallery above. Why the sarcasm? Because loosening up the geometry makes it very difficult to remember and find the locations of different media combinations and approaches. It’s a bit like carefully labeling all of your vials or eppendorfs, then having the ink fade when the samples were ready to analyze. And yes – I’ve also had that happen (note to current and future lab folk: the very fine point black Sharpies are NOT THE SAME as the wider markers, and colored sharpies fade pretty fast too!). Illuminated and Flow Birefringence don’t incorporate the variety of media experiments as Firmament and Birthday Song. I believe that it might be better to collaborate with Blake, do some targeted and very simple experiments, and to use the magic of modern digital video and photography to help take notes. Something for later this summer.
The two later pieces, Illuminated and Flow birefringence, do both use the simple striped geometry of many of the other earlier works in the Fluid Dynamics series, but there’s also a looseness carried over from the more experimental Firmament and Birthday Song. There are a few other recent pieces that fall more loosely in the same Fluid Dynamics category. Abstract Art is Great uses some of the fluid techniques I’ve been perfecting, but it also features subliminal messages using a thin top layer of retroreflective powder. It is shown below in normal and flash photography. The text can be hard to read even in a flash photo – this is something I’m working on. The word near the bottom is “subliminal”.
Two more pieces use some fluid approaches, but glass optics and extrusion are the ideas anchoring the concepts, and not frozen-in fluid behaviors. Power and influence use glass spherical “marbles” to manipulate light and to play with each image from different vantage points. They round out the set of new “fluid-y” pieces and are shown below.