Jonathan Feldschuh


The Universe on Canvas
Jonathan Feldschuh paints beautiful new perspectives of photographs taken from space satellites.
by Kelly Kizer Whitt

The Whirlpool Galaxy is mimicked through acrylics, including its hot spots of star birth.
©2002 Jonathan Feldschuh

The TRACE satellite provided the ultraviolet data for this rendering of a solar flare.
©2002 Jonathan Feldschuh

Photographic images of the universe have always been beautiful enough to place in frames and hang on walls, but now one man is turning them into true works of art. Jonathan Feldschuh begins with maps or images captured by satellites and space telescopes and ends up with a colorful acrylic representation of some of the wonders of the astronomical world.

Feldschuh’s paintings include artistic visions of the Whirlpool Galaxy, cosmic microwave background radiation, and a solar flare, among others. The 37-year-old Feldschuh, who received a B.S. in Physics from Harvard and went on to study art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, combines both of these backgrounds in Macrocosm, an exhibition showing May 2 through June 8 at the Cynthia Broan Gallery in New York City.

Orbiting observatories that yield the images that inspire Feldschuh’s "otherworldly" point of view include COBE, YOHKOH, TRACE, and the Hubble Space Telescope. Feldschuh first manipulates data on a computer and then projects the new creations onto a canvas he paints with fluid acrylic, "allowing the colors to mix and swirl, flowing across their boundaries as defined in the original image." Finally, he says he "seals the painting with multiple layers of clear acrylic, using colored pencils to define some of the chaotic, organic forms that result from flow."

DIRBE 100 micron data provided the inspiration for this artistic map of the universe.
©2002 Jonathan Feldschuh

The paintings that began as maps are often derived from wavelengths of light not visible to the naked eye, and Feldschuh finds the original colors to be "somewhat arbitrary." So he invents his own color scheme with which he recreates these cosmic maps but still maintains the integrity of the scientific data. In fact, he believes that the new look he gives these images "might reveal structure or a pattern that is not as apparent in the original."

You can see this stunning space art for yourself at his show in New York or by visiting Jonathan Feldschuh’s website.

review ©2002

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