Actual Size

posted in: Form, Medium 0


Actual size of the weevil and beetle sector of Australia’s grain pests is in the 2-4 mm range. The electron microscope’s extreme magnification revealed unique form and detail granting each pest survival on a specific grain. It was an opportunity to discover each insect’s distinct features – and ultimately combine the solid form and scientific nature of ink drawing with the more fragile and raw line qualities offered by printmaking processes of drypoint and acid etching. 


Joan Martin, ‘Bean Weevil – actual size 3.2 – 4 mm’
Copperplate line etching & photopolymer plate, 152 mm plate height


Joan Martin, ‘Tobacco Beetle – actual size 2.0 – 3.0 mm’
Copperplate drypoint/line etching & photopolymer plate, 152 mm plate height


Joan Martin, ‘Rice Weevil – actual size 2 – 3.5 mm’
Copperplate line etching & photopolymer plate, 152 mm plate height


posted in: Light, Medium 1


When thinking of aluminum, kitchen foil may come to mind. Shiny on one side, matte on the other. Aluminum foil is generally 1.8 – 2.5 microns thick. Aluminum leaf at 0.4 – 0.8 microns is fragile but equally capable of excessive reflection and matte finish, frequently presenting an outcome unexpected and intriguing in its oxidization and reflective traits.


Joan Martin, ‘Cloud Construction’, acrylic, metal leaf on wood, 12″ x 18″

The challenge in working with metal leaf is adjusting underlying surface qualities affecting reflected light. The process is both compelling and frustrating as changing light or viewer location can quickly morph the image into new patterns of reflection.


NileRed, ‘Mercury on Aluminum‘, alloy amalgamation video frame at 4:29.
Photo via youtube-aluminumandmercury

The video frame is from a time lapse of a mercury blob’s interaction with aluminum. With the protective oxide layer of the aluminum plate removed, mercury is able to initiate a fragile amalgam formation of aluminum oxide. It grows in height and width and collapses as it crawls across the plate.


Kader Attia,’Ghost’, aluminum foil installation, Saatchi Gallery, London 2007
Photo via telegraphUK

Expansive use of aluminum foil presents a discordantly cold but softly reflective portrayal of shrouded ghost-like women. An unexpected and jarring contrast of light occurs. Aluminum highlights darkness within empty figures and harshness of the disturbing political context that speaks of women and religion.

Simplicity of Line

posted in: Form, Medium 0


With concept reduced to linear simplicity, attention is captured.
Jetelovà’s ‘Iceland Project’ lifts a fiber optic line into a simplified 3-D description of rugged terrain.
Fontana’s ‘Concetto Spaziale’ focuses on disturbing slashed lines on a pristine primed canvas.
Büttner’s incised line woodcut captures a marquee’s structure via only the most critical lines.


Magdalena Jetelovà, ’Iceland Project‘, fiber optics line defines terrain, 1992
Photo via socks-studio 


Lucio Fontana, ‘Concetto Spaziale’, primed canvas with slashed cuts, 1965
Photo via sotheby’s


Andrea Büttner, ‘Tent, (marquee)’, incised woodcut on paper, diptych measures approx. 2 x 2.5 meters, 2012  
Photo via davidkordanskygallery


Rain 1

posted in: Motion 1


Shotei Takahashi, ‘Rain on Izumibashi Bridge‘, Japanese woodblock print, circa 1925
Photo via vicsmuse

A print small in size (6.75″ x 15″) but extraordinarily powerful in representation – as two figures crouch under umbrellas poised to take the brunt of heavy rainfall. The print exhibits the mastery of skill and sensitivity typical of Takahashi’s woodblock prints.


Ki Chul Kim, ‘Sound Looking – Rain’, sound gear, rain drop sounds, eight channel speaker

California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles, 2007

Ki Chul Kim works “with sound, against more traditional, visual forms of art. To Kim, sound itself is the subject . . . ‘Sound Looking – Rain’ . . . investigates the nature of perception and representation in relation to the Buddhist concept of emptiness“.


Natural Forces

posted in: Form 0


Many of today’s architects and engineers are dedicated to innovation minimizing the destructive power of natural forces such as typhoon-level winds, earthquakes and tsunamis. Contemporary solutions present an undeniable beauty visualizing the dynamics underlying potentially devastating forces.


Gensler, ‘Shanghai Tower‘, Shanghai, China, world’s 2nd tallest building (632 meters), 2016   
Photos via archdaily

The Gensler team anticipated tapered asymmetry and rounded corners to withstand typhoon-force winds common in Shanghai. Using wind tunnel tests . . . [the team] refined the tower’s form, which reduced building wind loads by 24 percent”


OFIS Architects ‘All Seasons Tent Tower’ anti-earthquake design concept for Mercedes Benz Hotel, Yerevan, Armenia, 2010
Photo via inhabitat

“The structure resists quake shaking using a system of concrete cores and composite columns that supposedly ensure structural stability.” The embracing metal mesh tent presents a unique aesthetic in its mimicry of climate and earthquake-prone landscape.


CRAB Studio, ‘tsunami resistance‘ for disaster prevention competition, Istanbul, Turkey, 2012
Photo via evolo

CRAB Studio developed a concept employing dynamic blade-like structures designed to cut up and disperse a massive tsunami’s destructive power. The result is an unusually expressive design with its lyrical formations engulfing the area.


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