Scientific topics that influence my art
I like to learn about scientific topics. Not for any practical reason; but really just to delve into subject matter that I find interesting. Because I'm an artist, and not an engineer or scientist, I can take certain liberties in my writings about science. I'm not held to a academic or professional standard. I suppose that would categorize this blog post as science fiction.
The scientific topics I think about the most include physics, astronomy and quantum mechanics. I like to think about the natural, and seemingly random, forces that are responsible for shaping the world we exist in. This subject matter is something I try to convey with my art—using chaotic forces to bring about a sense of order.
(Above) Empirical Entropy, 2009 - One of the first paintings where I explored the balance of chaos and order, in thinking about universal physical laws.
The universe is a dynamic, ever-changing form. Gravity pulls together endless tendrils of galaxies. Black holes create end points for matter. Time is just a relative construct, transforming relative to your position. Dark energy undulates through the fabric of reality. At the subatomic level, particles can teleport through barriers via quantum tunneling. It all happens at an unfathomable scale, in dozens of orders of magnitude larger or smaller than our experience.
The universe operates with a medley of seemingly chaotic forces that we can only begin to understand. But somehow it provides order that sustains us and intrigues us with its beauty. With an understanding of how the universe works, we can harness it and use it for our needs. I like to think of my artworks as depictions of universal forces; events that could have taken place at an unfamiliar scale or time, but still feels real at a basic level.
My paintings begin as automatic compositions, using free hand movements and mark making to generate an image. As I continue to apply paint, the picture takes on a life and feeling of it's own. This can be expressed through a nearly infinite combination of strokes, colors and tones; layered upon themselves, and cut out with masks, until it meets my desired result.
I want the result to represent something that feels like could theoretically happen. Using rules in design and composition, I want to allow the eye to navigate space. I try to create an illusion of matter and energy traveling through space, jumping dimensions, and representing different moments in time. Through use of varied brushwork, I'm unleashing chaos, making contradictions to be solved by layers forming into an ordered composition. It becomes something that feels like it could exist, while obviously being a two-dimensional illusion.
Working through multiple phases of drying paint, I bring the painting to a form that feels real. It's a feeling that if you looked at the universe a certain way, at a scale or moment in space-time, you'd see things take shape just as it appears. Like taking a photograph, the image will ideally capture something beautiful or interesting. An artist attempts to form it into something that represents their ideal version of reality.
My artworks are documentations of how energy flows and forms, following my perception of universal physical laws. In that way, they are representational, not abstract. The final image appears to be a random abstract picture, but is the product of many intentional decisions, bringing chaotic energies into a recognizable form.