Final piece.

I am please with my final piece for my degree show. I really think the simplicity has worked our for the better. If I had then added the smaller objects into the piece I feel the piece would have turned the focus from the colours on to the objects and that is not what I want the work to be about.

The work is about colour. The minimal simplistic style of the boxes draws little to no attention. The regular geometric shape is familiar and unsuspecting allowing for the colour to be contained, mixed and flow out of.

Amalia Pica

Amalia Pica is a Latin American artist who uses overlapping circles of coloured light. Different to my work hers refers to her childhood in 1970s Argentina. During this time the country’s military forbade the concept of intersection (where elements of B also belong to elements of A), from being taught in elementary classes, concerned that its mathematical representation might ultimately prompt the public to conspire against it. In her work she invites the audience to manipulate the translucent shapes, producing new outcomes. The piece uses abstraction and intersection as an invitation to re-imagine ideas concerning collaboration and community.

The use of colour is similar to my work. I’m interested in looking at  how two fields of light interact with each other and what happens to the colours in the space where they mix. There is an element of uncertainty as to what is going to happen when there are may colours that could possibly be layered or combined. This is another example of how complex colour theory and colour mixing can be. An endless array of colours that are possible to be explored.


Exhibition space and box prep.

The first two boxes I made were pretty much perfect. However the second two I made were a little more scruffy. I think due to the warm temperature in the studios I found that the excess glue used to fix each panel together dried quicker than usual not allowing me to rub off the excess in time before it dried. This meant that I had to do a lot of sanding to get them as slick as possible. There was also a few pieces which where cut slightly wrong not exactly fitting together which was then rectified again with sanding them down.

The design of the boxes has worked well. Originally I thought they may be fairly weak but a combination of wood glue and nails has made the structure strong, It is possible to stack them on top of each other with out loosing any structure or strength.

The studio space has been pretty straight forward to create a clean minimalist finish which is what I’m trying to aim for. I’m happy with the space however it is larger than I thought it was going to be. I’m now glad I made more than two boxes as it has allowed me to play around with filling the whole space with light.



Here are two of the boxes originally made as shelves to house smaller objects similar to the small prototype in the videos and pictures beforehand. However after playing around with a few light compositions I enjoyed the simplicity of the boxes alongside the bare coloured bulbs.

I took the two boxes down to the 1st floor stair area where the angles of the architecture under the stairs compliment the angles and lines created by the shadows of the edges of the box. I also wanted to see how the objects would look in a semi lit area. It is not totally dark in the stair case but this allows me to play around with possible lighting levels also.

By changing the bulbs around it allows me to see which colours work better with others. the strongest colour is blue with red after green after that and yellow last. The Yellow bulb is more of an orange yellow and doesn’t give as strong a colour as the other three. Also using only the three bulbs red green and blue would make sense due to the primary RGB colour spectrum of light.

The more I look at composition and trialling compositions and ideas out the simpler the ideas and results become.

Another thing I noticed and hoped would happen from the start is that the shadows created by the light tend to be the complementary colour of the original. So from RGB we get CYM Cyan Yellow and Magenta. Going back to my previous point about simplicity, a minimal structure showing this simple effect could show it better than placing objects inside the shelves themselves. Especially if I’m also mentioning and relating my work to colour becoming the primary function over form and the idea that colour is contained by forms. Here colour spills out on to its surroundings giving an interactive platform.

Michel Eugene Chevreul.


Michel Eugene Chevreul was a chemist who’s work led to early applications in fields of art and science. He was known for having invented a better dye technique  which then led to his work The Principals of Harmony and Contrast of Colours.

Contrast effect.

A contrast effect is the enhancement or diminishment of a colour, relative to the normal perception of it. A colour can be seen as brighter or more vivid with am opposite or contrasting colour next to it.

Colour box video.

As part of my documentation throughout the years I have taken a few Videos that have allowed me to show the optical illusions I am interested in. I find that the work I did last year supports the work I do this year very much, however the materials I use has changed dramatically.

I originally worked with oil paint creating colour fades from one colour to another and then on to the next and so on. Video 1 and video 2 are an experiment starting from the centre of the painting then moving outward. The effect of starting with one colour within the field of view and then moving outward introducing other colours surrounding effects the original image dramatically. This optical effect is something that has inspired me through out this year and considered within my most recent light experiments.

Please click video to see in real time how the colour changes within prototype.

Please click video to see time lapse of colour light changing in prototype.

The above two videos are an example of a prototype made with an infinity backing. The curved back gives the illusion of space, the lack of corners gives no reference point allowing to judge sense of depth.

Please click video to see how light in motion reacts with objects.

Please click video to see how light in motion reacts with objects focusing on colour of shadow.

Please click video to see a possible idea for a hanging sculpture.

In the last couple of videos I start to look at how the shapes of the objects create shadows. Its interesting that when using a red light the shadows and the low lights tend to look almost green in colour. This is another interesting optical effect which could be considered for final piece ideas.

Coding LEDs and Wiring.

Learning how to use electronics has been helpful useful and interesting however it hasn’t come without its difficulties either. I first started coding when attending one of Paul’s electronic workshops.

In this workshop we made a small series of LED RGB lights, learning how to solder each individual component together to create a circuit. The hardest part of all of the process is the coding of each individual LED. I’m familiar with the science and the practical but have never really been that good with computers.

I’m finding it difficult to create such a complex series of lights and it being as successful. Its ok coding up to 5or 6 LEDs but I know I’m going to be roughly using up to 20-25 led to light the boxes and the objects inside sufficiently and to give the desired effect.

The Grey Oval 2. 2nd Gap Crit

This was the set up for my second Gap Crit. I utilised the grey oval again alongside my small shelf prototype. I was very pleased with both. I showed both to gauge how successful each piece is.

The smaller piece changes colour gradually from green to pink. The change in the coloured light is almost so gradual you do not notice the change until it blinks back to green from red. The Oval is a static colour in that it does not change however it does reflect. Although using two optical ‘tricks’ one in each, I have started to think about possibly combining the two within one piece of work. I’m interested in how the changing light interacts with the shape inside the box and how the light interacts with its surroundings.

An interesting comment made on the oval is how the light surrounding the O looks pink in comparison to the light from the centre. The light is in fact a white light but looks pink/red in comparison to the blue grey of the O. Another comment is how the centre looks as though it is a void. It has infinite space. You can see the corner of the room from above the O moving down behind it yet through the centre the corner is lost thus creating a confused sense of depth.

Points I should note for future development:

1 – How changing light interacts with objects

2 – How this light and static light interacts with the surrounding space

3 – How light interacts with colour pigment in contrast

4 –  Think about optical strategies such as reflection

Tutorial Advice with James Green.

After making two of my boxes and painting them white ready to start making objects to be positioned inside I had a group tutorial with James. This changed my idea rather dramatically but still allowed me to use the boxes I had already made.

After discussing with the group my original ideas to create a sculpture within the shelf and then engineer the light to add colour to the objects, it came to light that that working on a bigger scale may actually be easier than small scale, and more interesting.

Others mentioned that before I decided to work small I was in fact working with a larger scale and why I decided to down scale. In my first gap crit I utilised the whole room and flooded it with light with minimal objects but rather large in comparison to the smaller objects that I have recently been using. In my second gap crit I also utilised a found object which I refer to as the O. Previously I have played around with the lighting of the O in the dark space looking at the coloured shadows that the light produces on the walls and shapes behind it. I think I downsized partly because of cost to make large shapes as well as the cost to light them. The larger the object the more LEDs needed to create desired effect. I also though that space may be an issue with many people asking for dark spaces.

However from feedback from the group and guidance from James I was encouraged to be more extravagant with my final project. In stead of having two shelves with sculptures inside them, why couldn’t the shelves or the shapes become the sculptures themselves?

So I have decided to make another 2 boxes to make a total of four and light them in a way tha would allow the light to spill out in to the room like my previous Gap Crits.

Making the box.

After trying out some possible ideas in both a small staged box and on a plinth I thought the composition worked bes within the box setting. I came to this conclusion as it means I can stage the scenario within the box thus creating a more controlled environment for me to create the best results with the light. This also allows me to easily hide wires from the lights and any imperfections that the objects may have picked up in the making of. Only having one viewpoint allows for more control and ease of making.

So from the small found shelf that I used as a trial composition I then needed to make something similar but up scale it. I wanted the structure to sit on the wall like a box shelf at head height so needed to strong enough to hold the weight of the box and the fixtures, lights and objects that would be inside. I also had to take into consideration that I need space to hide wires and enough room to make fixtures without damaging the box also.

This is what I designed and created. Using 12mm MDF I essentially made two boxes which after made one would sit inside the other leaving a 6cm boarder from the outside edge to the inside edge. Between the two shells as I started to call them I placed supporting pillars of MDF to give the box both strength and to wedge the boxes into the right position ready for the front panels to be placed on.

This design created a hollow frame for me to be able to hide wires and allow me to place on the wall easily. The space between the shelves both at the top and the bottom would be slotted on to brackets already placed on the wall. The shelf would sit on these at two points securely.