Aesthetic Experiments – The Atrium
Tour the Exhibit “Aesthetic Experiments” online. Use the links below to navigate to other sections of the exhibit.
The three paintings below demonstrate the range of approaches to Art in Science and Science in Art in the exhibit.
Density of States
“Density of States” takes an artistic look at a subject from Chemical Physics (Quantum Mechanics of Molecules). The Density of States of a molecule, ion, or material describes how many tightly spaced and overlapping energy levels are available, and determines how many electrons can delocalize (how much current can conduct). The chemical structures of a nanoparticle and several organometallic catalyst molecules are depicted. In the molecule sketches (Kekulke diagrams) areas with a high density of states and high electron delocalization are gilded with gold foil. Jagged lines that are typical of plots of molecular density of states calculations form the background and bits of the math used to set up a Hartree Fock Slater calculation pepper the background. This calculation is one of the many methods used to approximate solutions to problems in Molecular Quantum Mechanics and to calculate electron densities.
In the Exhibit: Science Subject Paintings Science Subject Drawings
On the Website: Science Subject Paintings Science Subject Drawings
“Information Network” is a playful depiction of an internet. I have been told that it resembles actual maps internet information flow in Thailand. There are broad trunks of information flow, and many smaller interconnected paths. Retroreflective glass beads in the painting loosely represent data packets, which pile up waiting at bottlenecks in the system. Retroreflective spherical lenses are used on road signs to make them glow in a car’s headlights, but remain dark and non-distracting to all the other drivers. The light is reflected from the back surface of the bead, picking up the colors underneath the retroreflective layer and making them seem to glow. When the observer is out of alignment, the beads are almost invisible. In a painting this creates the illusion of different areas lighting up as the viewer moves past, like a signal being transferred.
In the Exhibit: “Networks” Paintings Paintings using Optical Effects
On the Website: “Networks” Paintings Mixed Media Paintings using Optics and optical effects
“Misted Mountains” is a fairly representational landscape painting. However on closer inspection, the painting is made up of layers of sculpted and swirled media and does not really resemble “painting” at all. As someone who has spent years in Science and technology, the process of experimentation, observation, and application is almost second nature to me. Much of my work in acrylic and mixed media involves unusual methods of working with acrylic media, all of which needed to be tested. My Abstract “Fluid Mechanics” Series of paintings test these approaches, while “Reinvented Landscapes” like “Misted Mountains” apply the new techniques. The swirling sky in Misted Mountains with its undulating surface and rough fissures was created by using transparent acrylic media of different densities with different shrinkage properties on drying. When these media are mixed “badly”, differences in drying properties result in the uneven surface and cracks used to create the “Misted Mountains” sky. The swirling effect results from fluid paint brushed into fluid media. Soft translucent planes of color or clear marbleized lines can be produced, depending on how the colored paint is prepared and on the choice and properties of the transparent fluid medium used.