UNSCENE: An exhibition of paintings by students in Robert Platt’s “Painting, Lenses and the Spectacle”, exploring the potential of microscopy and satellite imagery.
Robbins Gallery, April 11 — 12, 2013
“I have a powerful sense that effective art and science both begin at the points where knowledge breaks down. Visual intuitions are one of the most potent tools we possess for feeling our way into the unknown.”
— Martin Kemp
‘Unscene’ is the culminating assignment in the elective painting class: Painting, Lenses and The Spectacle. The course explores techniques for representing perspectival space from the abstract forms and organic growth that occupied the imagination in the 19th century and our current age of plurality and process where images are created in a polyphony of ways and our ability to broadcast them has been revolutionized by modern communication technologies.
High-powered microscopy and digital satellite images from Google earth present us with imaging from unseen worlds; epic vistas from a microscopic and macroscopic scale. Students started the assignment navigating and scanning through hours of Virtual microscopic images from U of M’s Histology department. They selected and documented their own imagery that somehow presents views of the human body from a unique and fascinating perspective. The micro view presents parts of human organs as infinitesimal landscapes.
Taking Charles and Ray Eames’s Power of Ten (1977) as a model, they next panned back in the opposite direction towards the stars. Developments in microscopy and Satellite imaging brings new realms into our visual purview and offers insights into new levels of patterns and formations that were previously unknown with the naked eye. The geometries, visceral chaos and dynamic fractals inherent in microscopic tissues are mirrored in the macro landscapes and landforms viewed from above. In ‘Unscene’ students explored in paint the complexities of fractal images, exploring intuitively in fluid dynamics as they manipulated and encouraged the elemental aspects inherent in oils, pigments and solvents.