Jonathan Feldschuh


Art and Science

 My paintings have come to be more and more engaged with issues of science.  After initially training as a physicist, I switched to painting.  Over time I have developed a style based on harnessing the fluid properties of my materials to produce painterly effects.  Using techniques borrowed from the abstract expressionists, I pour, drip, hurl, etc.  I seal the paint in layers of clear acrylic, and then draw outlines to render the resulting patterns as three-dimensional forms.  One of the interesting things about this process is that the images clearly suggest organic forms, but at an indeterminate scale.  A microscopic size is suggested, but also a macrocosmic or atomic one.  This fractal quality of scalelessness is characteristic of the chaotic processes that produce so many natural forms.  By incorporating chance and chaos into my painting (in the form of semi-controlled accidents of paint running and mixing) I recreate and reenact my subject matter. 

Starting with the Macrocosm series in 2001, I began to use iconic scientific images as a starting point for paintings: mostly images from the Hubble space telescope and other orbital observatories.  Where before I moved from abstraction to figuration, I now do the reverse, allowing my starting images to swirl and distort.  Some of the data images are already quite abstract to begin with, and the idea of making them into abstract paintings does not seem so far-fetched.  It is perhaps hubristic but incredibly enticing to work with images (such as the oval map of the cosmic background radiation) that in a true sense represent and depict the entire universe. 

In addition to the  Macrocosm series, I am also developing a body of work called Simulations based on supercomputer visualizations.  These simulations are typically used by researchers to study complex, chaotic phenomena such as weather systems, nuclear explosions, cosmogenesis, etc.  The DNA series uses images of that perhaps most famous molecule.  An earlier body of work, which I originally showed under the title Little Corner of the World, does not use scientific imagery directly, but uses the same fractal principles to display what might be a microcosmic view of things.


Jonathan Feldschuh

January 2004


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