Art and Physics

At my meeting in San Antonio, I just saw a nice article by Brian Jacobsmeyer on APS’ Physics Central with an interesting take on art mixing with physics. (A subject you know is close to my heart, given The (graphic novel) Project) (The article was the subject of part of the meeting, ao I was paying attention!) It is actually about fluid dynamics and Rayleigh-Taylor mixing, if you want to be specific, and you’ll recognize it in other images in astronomy, and elsewhere. There’s an interesting film associated with it too, which is linked in the article. Here’s an extract to get you started (link at the end):

When artist David Alfaro Siqueiros first discovered his “accidental painting” technique in the 1930s, the simplicity of the process coupled with its elaborate results riveted him. Siqueiros simply poured different color paints onto a wooden panel, allowing the different colors to spread, coalesce, and infiltrate one another.

“When he discovered this process, he wrote a very long letter to his girlfriend,” said Sandra Zetina, an art historian at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. “He wrote very beautifully about this.”

Siqueiros fell in love with the aesthetics, but the underlying science sustained his enthusiasm; he even invited scientists to his workshop to explain the physics behind his painting techniques. The scientists, however, had trouble understanding what…

More here.


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