In this project I use various chemical compounds mixed with liquid colors to create abstract art pieces. Starting with experimentation to see what reaction each compound generates; I then add a second compound and then a third and so on.
The result is a collection of surreal ‘reactions’ portraits. Some may remind us of famous paintings such as Munch’s or Klimt’s and others resemble surreal colorful cloud formations.
Ultimately these images are a metaphor of our lives: it is healthy to experiment and sometimes open the door to the unknown. Although some results will not bring us anywhere, others may help us discover and create new impressions we didn’t imagine were possible.
Artist statement: Science, nature, and discovery infuse all my work. I use my photography practice to explore and test the limits of visual perception. I approach all my projects in a bespoke way; starting with researching and exploring the properties of the material selected so I can understand how to work it. I then begin experimenting with light. I explore how best to use it to contour the subject matter for clear and descriptive images. I have built-up repetition and contrast within a series of photographs on each subject. Complex problems excite me. I embrace the technically difficult as it challenges me to produce art that surpasses those challenges. Pushing boundaries, subverting expectations, endlessly and relentlessly searching for beauty and the unseen. The geometry of nature is a huge inspiration to me. I often work with very close crops of the microscopic structures I photograph. This transforms their intrinsic patterns and textures into the abstract, allowing space for the viewer to engage their imagination. I have made explicit the implicit intricacies of chemistry and physics, exposing the detail within common compounds such as water, glass, sugar, spices, flowers, and light. My explorations have revealed flowers within droplets of magnetized fluid, colorful ice shelves within sugar crystals, and more. I am driven by the opportunity to make images that can be shared. I want to give people the opportunity to see the beauty in elemental structures of nature they would not otherwise see without my photographic lens.
All images and text © Gianfranco Merati
By Gianfranco Merati
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